HONOLULU (KHON2) — Employees are used to getting calls or texts from their boss.

The BBB says it could be a CEO imposter scam if those messages to ask for strange requests.

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The message may seem innocent at first. The “boss” just wants to check in and asks for a reply.

“Because of course you would help your boss.
You receive another message to go buy something, and usually what that means is you’re going to buy something in a gift card.”

Roseann Freitas, Hawaii BBB marketplace manager

The Better Business Bureau says messages like this are likely fraudulent, especially if they sound out of the ordinary.

CEO imposters are known to spoof phone numbers and emails that are publicly available on the internet — leaving many companies exposed.

“A lot of websites show you the staff,” Freitas said. “They know who is who and they can reach out and they can do it in various ways where they can actually try to clone your boss’s phone number, or even gain access to their emails so it does really come from their account.”

The scammers are not just after gift cards, according to the BBB.

“It could also involve transferring money, wiring them elsewhere, it involves stealing money,” Freitas said. “Experts recommend to always be wary of unusual requests from unfamiliar phone numbers.”

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Get the real boss on the phone — or talk to them in person — if you think a call or text might be fake and never reply to any electronic communication if it appears to be a scam.