for immediate release
October 5, 2004

N E W S   R E L E A S E

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office warns citizens of a telephone scam that has recently targeted some local residents. The scam begins with a collect call in which the caller urgently requests assistance.

If the recipient of the call dials a code as requested by the caller, the telephone line has been forwarded to another number, enabling the perpetrator to bill calls to the victim.

The calls appear to be originating from the 305-area code, in the Miami area. The perpetrator's cover story varies, but often involves a need to make emergency contact with family members of an individual who has either been arrested or injured.

In recent days, approximately one dozen Okaloosa County residents, some of whom did not accept the initial collect call, have reported receiving the calls.

Victims of the scam should contact their telephone company. Victims who have forwarded their telephone lines may cancel that action by dialing *73.

Telephone-based scams are common, and typically involve an element of urgency. Scam artists are skillful at playing on fear, sympathy, and other emotions. All citizens should be wary of unexpected telephone calls, especially collect calls from strangers.


for more information contact Sgt. Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420