People receiving unsolicited text messages with offers to buy homes

People across Central Florida are getting unsolicited text messages asking if they want to sell their homes.

Orlando restaurant owner Evan Dimov said he’s received quite a few.

"It’s very annoying. I received a lot of those texts. The first time I received it I was wondering who it was because it texted me with my first name and saying it knew where I lived," Dimov said.

Dimov even responded to one of the text messages asking who the person was and how they got his information.

"My home is not for sale. It’s not listed. That text came from nowhere," he said.

"To this point, we’re not really seeing scams being attached to this practice. It’s really more of a lead generation tactic being used," Holly Salmons, CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida, said.

Salmons said real estate agents are using text messages to generate leads.

"We have a huge boom of folks moving into Central Florida and inventory is extremely low. And so we have thousands of realtors and agents looking for inventory," she said.

James Ferngren is a real estate agent with Creenan Group in Central Florida. He said his agency doesn’t send unsolicited text messages, but he has heard it’s happening and has concerns.

"When I see that, the first thing I think is this person is trying to buy this home for significantly under market value," Ferngren said.

Salmons said the way real estate agents are getting people’s contact information is pretty simple.

"It’s public record through your county property appraiser, and then you can purchase pretty inexpensively access to this contact information," Salmons said.

As for stopping it, she said adding your name to the "do not call" registry likely will not work in this case because the text messages are not a direct solicitation.

"They’re calling to ask you a yes or no question. They’re not asking to sell you anything. Really, they’d like to sell what you’ve got," Salmons said.

Salmons said if you are not interested in selling your home, do not respond to any text messages or calls. She also recommends blocking any unsolicited numbers. While she believes this is not a scam right now, she said it is possible scammers pick up on it and try to clone the behavior.

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