for immediate release
October 13, 2003

N E W S   R E L E A S E

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office is investigating an apparent scam in which a newspaper advertisement has been used to attract victims.

The ad offers low-interest loans from "First Rate Credit Union" in Middletown, New York. An Okaloosa County resident who replied to the ad was told she was approved for a loan, but that she would have to pay more than $1,200 in advance for credit insurance. She paid the insurance premium, but despite repeated assurances from the First Rate Credit Union, never received the loan.

The advertisement that ran last month in a local newspaper appears to be part of a multi-state fraud involving non-existent loans from fictitious lenders.

The newspaper discontinued the ad after receiving complaints from readers.

Any additional victims who believe they may have lost money via this scam should contact Lt. Joe Nelson at the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, (850) 609-2000.

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For more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420

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