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Cruise Scam The Latest To Plague The Bay County Area

Bay County Sheriff’s deputies are warning residents about the latest scam plaguing the area—advertising a fake cruise in exchange for personal information.

In recent months, the Bay County area has been troubled by several scams. Some target the elderly, telling them a loved one is in jail and needs bail money. Others come with a letter that tells the recipient they’ve won two airline tickets, but must give their social security and date of birth to claim them. Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Ruth Corley says there’s now a similar scheme:

“It purports to be from the Caribbean Cruise Line and it says that you have gotten a free complimentary boarding pass. And, then on the very back is a check for $1,300. They call the number—there’s a toll free number to call—they were asked their date of birth and their social security number in order to confirm the boarding pass and the check, so they could theoretically cash the check and go on this cruise.”

She says usually the elderly are the targets of such scams, but adds there’s another group of people that also needs to be careful.

“Another group that we have found that has become more common to target is college kids age because they’re going off for the first time in their life, often. They’re living on their own and they are hit with opportunities to get credit cards right there on campus often times and in functions they will attend—there are credit card companies or people purporting to be credit card companies who are not authentic," she added.

Corley says she knows of no one who’s fallen prey to the scam so far – she’s only heard from the person who brought the letter to deputies’ attention.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s office held the first of several seminars in August to make residents aware of a number of different scams and offer ways to prevent them. Another workshop is expected soon. There's also a book by one of the investigators about all the different scams in the area for $10 at the sheriff's office.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.