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New text message scam hits South Florida this holiday season

Posted at 10:58 AM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 19:10:12-05

A new text message scam is making the rounds in South Florida with the holiday season upon us.

Florida's Best Realty in Boca Raton says several people within their company received text messages on Tuesday from a number pretending to be a broker at the firm.

Collette Burke said she got a text last August from an unknown number claiming to be her boss. The text asked her to buy four $100 iTunes gift cards.

Burke said she got another text on Tuesday, this time from a different number, also claiming to be her boss.

"It is a scary feeling when someone is trying to con you," said Burke.

About a dozen employees all got the same text that Burke did. Each text said it was from Marshal Sklar, co-owner of Florida's Best Realty.

"Same area code, the first three digits, I am 222 they were 322," said Sklar.

One of the texts asked an employee to get four $100 Stream gift cards.

"They even created an e-mail account that looks like my e-mail," said Sklar. "They created a phone number that's very similar to my phone number. So they're texting, they're e-mailing."

That company didn't fall for the scam, but another brokerage firm in South Florida wasn't so lucky.

Kurt Lehmann, owner of the Lehmann Realty Team in Delray Beach, says one of his realtors got a similar text message on Tuesday asking for gift cards. That broker ended up buying $800 worth of gift cards.

The scammer then asked the victim to scratch off the ID numbers on the cards and text those numbers back. That allowed the crook to use the gift cards.

Boca Raton police are investigating. We're working to find out if Delray Beach police are also investigating.