NEWS RELEASE                                             

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2005
Contact: Michele Nicholson
Public Information Officer 
(850) 651-7420


     Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris wants to warn the public about an elaborate phone scam targeting local elderly residents.

     Although the exact scheme varies, in essence, citizens report getting calls from a man claiming to be Sheriff Morris. The man tells them he's been notified by U.S. Customs or another agency that they've won a huge sum of money from an agency such as Publisher's Clearinghouse.

     In order to collect the big check, the citizen is first asked to secure the prize by sending money to an address in Canada , or by allowing someone from the Sheriff 's Office to come by to pick it up.

     An investigation into the scam is underway. Anyone receiving one of these bogus calls is asked to report the incident to the Okaloosa County Sheriff 's Office Criminal Investigations Division at 850-609-2000.

     Sheriff Morris also wants to remind the public that his agency never solicits financial donations over the telephone.