Event-goers check out vendors during the Upper Keys Rotary Club's Gigantic Nautical Flea Market at Founders Park in Islamorada in February 2020. The largest flea market in the Keys was canceled last year due to COVID-19. DOUG FINGER/Keys Weekly

An online fraud scheme is targeting vendors seeking a booth at the Upper Keys Rotary Gigantic Nautical Flea Market. 

This attack came to light when a potential show vendor asked about the request for a booth deposit they received through Facebook. 

Barbara Neal, a member of the team dealing with event vendors, said, “The layout of the Nautical Market has completely changed for this coming February. There are wider aisles, we’ve eliminated points of congestion, and introduced food trucks. So, the vendor spaces are all different. We give priority to successful returning vendors and there is a waiting list, so it’s frustrating for new companies wanting to be part of the show.” 

Potential vendors asking about booth space on Facebook receive a reply explaining the only way to contact the event vendor team is through a specific email address. That’s when the potential fraud happens. 

Vendors wanting a space recently received a Facebook instant message from someone using an event logo claiming to have special booth spaces available. The claim comes with a request for a deposit.  

“An experienced vendor probably isn’t going to fall for the scam,” said Upper Keys Rotarian Frank Derfler. “We don’t use Instant Messenger and we only use one email address. But a new business trying to get into this very popular show might jump at the offer. As usual, if something seems too good to be true…” The Upper Keys Rotary Gigantic Nautical Flea Market returns to Founders Park on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 26-27. Vendors interested in getting on a waiting list should email [email protected]

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