Thomas Cook India’s Sterling Holidays and Resorts, a vacation ownership company, is urging its members to be cautious of a recent phone scam. This comes after members have been receiving calls from individuals claiming to represent Sterling, offering to buy back their memberships at inflated prices.

“There have unfortunately been reports of payment scams targeting our valued members,” said Badrikant G, Senior VP, Customer Lifecycle Management, in a statement posted on the company’s website.

In response to businessline’s query, Sterling Holidays denied a data breach. “There has been no breach of our member database,” a company spokesperson told businessline. “Our data is stored with a well-respected international service provider that serves many reputable clients. We also have strong security measures in place, including web-access firewalls and end-point security, to protect our members’ information.”

With a network of 48 resorts spread across 45 locations in India, Sterling Holidays, boasting over 1,00,000 members, with 80,000 actively using their memberships, with the maximum duration of membership being 99 years.

Despite these assurances, some members have come forward with concerning experiences. One member, who wished to remain anonymous, recounted receiving a call pressuring them to sell their membership. “The caller claimed to be from Sterling Holidays and offered to buy back my unused membership at a high price,” they explained. “When I refused the offer, the person became abusive and hung up on me.”

Another member, Alka Shah, shared a similar story. The caller in her case claimed her membership would lapse if not used and pressured her into selling it. “Luckily, my husband contacted Sterling directly through the official customer service number and confirmed it was a scam,” said Shah, a member of Sterling Holidays for over two decades.

Meanwhile, in an SMS to members, Sterling Holidays warned of a scam: “We want to caution you regarding unauthorised entities attempting payment scams,” the message said. It urged members to be careful with personal information and use official channels. The company spokesperson emphasised they “do not solicit such details over the phone,” and advised contacting them directly if suspicious calls are received.