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Marriott Vacation Club International Reports Large-Scale Identity Theft: Timeshare Owners Among Those Affected

Marriott Vacation Club International Reports Large-Scale Identity Theft: Timeshare Owners Among Those Affected

Earlier this week, MVCI reported stolen computer tapes containing personal information about more than 206,000 employees, customers, and others

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the US, with almost 10 million victims last year alone. And while those figures reflect only statistics in this country, the rest of the world is hardly immune to this serious and rapidly growing threat.

Just this week, Marriott Vacation Club International (MVCI) reported the apparent theft from their Orlando, Florida offices, of backup computer tapes containing information about 206,000 of their employees, timeshare owners, and timeshare customers. This tape DOES, according to Orlando news media reports, contain sensitive personal information, including credit card data, home addresses, and Social Security numbers.

Regarding the tapes, which were reportedly discovered missing in mid November, MVCI President, Stephen P. Weisz is quoted as saying, “We have recently mailed notifications to associates, timeshare owners, and timeshare customers and are available to answer any questions they may have.”

Are you a Marriott Vacation Club International member? Do you own Marriott timeshare? If you think you could have been affected, don’t wait for word to come in the mail. Contact Marriott Vacation Club International now at 407 206-6000, or visit MVCI’s contact page which lists many international toll free contact numbers. 

If you learn that your confidential information has potentially been compromised, take immediate action. Follow any precautionary steps recommended by the MVCI representative with whom you speak. These folks are there to help timeshare owners.

With the rapid growth of this crime, there are now many helpful resources to assist victims. Check the website of the Federal Trade Commission for tips, advice, and additional contact information.

You may find it necessary to notify the three credit reporting bureaus. Should you decide to file a fraud alert with any of the credit reporting agencies, all three will place a copy of the report in your file. Checking your credit report is easy and is wise to do on a regular basis.

Equifax, Inc.
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, Georgia 30374-0123
800 525-6285

P. O. Box 9532
Allen, Texas 75013
888 397-3742

Trans Union Corporation
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, California 92834
800 680-7289

At Sell My Timeshare NOW, It’s All About Time!

At Sell My Timeshare NOW, It’s All About Time!

Here’s some holiday wishes, plus a timely innovation which could help us achieve our goals in the new year.

As holiday festivities are already well under way in many parts of the world, the Timeshare Owners’ Blog would like to extend our best wishes and hopes to all of our readers, along with sincere wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

2005 is in her final days, never to seen again. Everywhere, people are trying to finish up this year’s activities to make room for next year’s workload. Accordingly, it seems quite timely to bring up the subject of “Clocky”. Clocky is the brainchild of scientists at MIT’s Media Lab, and is designed, to put it bluntly, to be the most annoying alarm clock on the planet.

The device itself looks harmless enough, except for its padded exterior and those suspicious wheels on either side. Wake up and bound out of bed, and Clocky is nothing more than a well-mannered home appliance. But be a slacker and hit the snooze button and Clocky will make you pay for your sleep-loving ways.

The snooze button brings out the worst in Clocky, causing it to immediately roll off your bedside table and seek the most inconvenient hiding spot possible. Whereupon, Clocky will sound the alarm again, forcing the sleepyhead to abandon warmth and comfort to find the alarming offender. 

Worst of all, Clocky is programmed to seek new hiding places each and every morning.

Actually, Clocky (which should be available to the public in 2006) may turn out to be an ideal solution for those of us who fight the interruption of peaceful slumber that is inevitably brought on each day by an alarm clock, a spouse, our children, the dog, the telephone, or that inexcusably noisy garbage truck on the corner.

Which brings me back to the timely matter of timeshares. Don’t just try to use your timeshare in 2006—DO IT. Don’t just think about renting a timeshare or investing in a timeshare resale—MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Schedule a vacation and take it. Leave your alarm clock—whatever kind you prefer to use—in a different time zone and go on holiday. There are plenty of well-meaning things (like Clocky) that make it easier do what we have to do. But there are only a few things—and owning a timeshare is one of them—that make it easier do what we really want to do.

National Association of Realtors® Plans to Hold 2006 Annual Conference In New Orleans

National Association of Realtors® Plans to Hold 2006 Annual Conference In New Orleans

The nation’s largest trade association will head back to New Orleans next year. No word on whether or not timeshares will be discussed…

You might say that neither hurricanes nor high water can stop The National Association of Realtors®, (NAR) who voted earlier this month that the historic devastation of 2005 will not stop them from holding their 2006 national convention, as planned, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (official release)   

One hopes that timeshare will be one of the subjects under discussion at the convention, as timeshares are different than traditional real estate and are often subject to wildly different laws and ordinances in many parts of the world. Most individuals and governments across the globe, from Denver to Dubai, are confused about how to classify timeshares. This is because they have traits similar to both temporary lodging units and traditional real estate properties. It could be helpful for the industry to establish a consensus, or at least spark some sort of meaningful dialog, as our industry expands into new markets worldwide. As was shown when II successfully established itself as a major player in the nascent Middle East timeshare market, businesses can have a lot of influence on local governments. The upshot here is that our industry can introduce favorable conditions prior to development, provided we know exactly what we want, from the beginning. These benefits don’t just extend to corporate big-shots: the average timeshare owner can certainly appreciate new consumer protection legislation in certain areas where, before exchange companies got involved, no such legislation existed.

In any case, In November of 2006, nearly 30,000 members of the real estate industry will converge on the city, bringing with them roughly $35 million dollars in much-needed revenue. NAR President, Tom Stevens, says, “We can set no better example to the nation than by keeping our promise to New Orleans and its people to hold our 2006 annual meeting there.”

The Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association projects that by next month, roughly 25,000 hotel rooms will be available again as the city revs up for Mardi Gras, which officially gets underway February 17. I’m sure some lucky conventioneers will be able to take advantage of timeshare or mixed-use facilities reopening in the area. Speaking from experience, timeshares are a definite improvement over hotel rooms.

What’s the message here? You’ve heard me say it before. Visit the hurricane-impacted areas of coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and Florida. Plenty of exciting places are open and eager for business and your travel and tourism dollars will go a long way to helping making local economies and individuals independent and solvent again.

Timeshares Are Good for Your Health

Timeshares Are Good for Your Health

With stress-related illnesses on the rise, maybe we could all benefit from a timeshare vacation.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck… well, you know how the rest of that saying goes.

So what if the work you do every day does not “look” like work? After all, manual labor is a thing of the past for many of us. Instead, we spend our days in comfortable (or quasi-comfortable) offices; sitting in ergonomic chairs in front of ergonomic keyboards, talking on wireless headsets. 

But just because you are safe, warm, and dry doing whatever it is you do each day, doesn’t mean it’s not labor. Whether you are bent over a plow or bent over a keyboard, the job you do day in and day out can be mind-consuming, life-defining, frequently stressful, and for many people, downright tedious. On top of that, regardless of your chosen occupation, you are likely to spend more time at work in 2006 than you did in 2005.

According to Harvard economist Juliet B. Schor, author of The Overworked American, the average worker in the US  “is now on the job an additional 163 hours (annually) or the equivalent of one month per year,” when compared to workers in 1969.

A study by the National Sleep Foundation tells us that we are averaging six more hours on the job per week than workers did just ten years ago. And nearly 40% of Americans work 50-plus hours, every single week.

Even if your career is as rewarding as mine, this still sounds like a challenging itinerary. With this kind of schedule, how does anyone manage to accomplish anything?

For the most part, we have eliminated several hours of much-needed sleep from our daily routines. And we’ve filled in any leftover gaps with caffeine. There is only one reason that Starbucks can justify building a coffee shop on every corner in America—we’re paying for them.

In December 2004, CBS News Health Watch reported that 87% of adults and 76% of children consume caffeine in their daily diets, up from 82% of adults and 43% of children in 1977. And in case coffee, colas, and chocolates with natural caffeine won’t do the trick, we artificially add it to candy, mints, gum, water—even bath soap!

2005 is almost over. You cannot reclaim the hours of lost sleep or the time you logged with your nose to the grindstone. But 2006 holds possibilities for change, if you make the effort to make it happen.
Relaxing vacations won’t drop into your life accidentally. Make a plan. Schedule time to do nothing more than lie on the beach, hike a trail in some woodsy national park, or savor a sunset across a bluer-than-blue lake. Schedule time to reacquaint yourself with your spouse, partner, and children. Timeshares can be an investment in your quality of life.

If you’re like me, your life is your work. However, don’t we all work toward the goal of being able to enjoy our free time?