Bob Brocker:

Okay. Good morning, everyone. My name is Bob Brocker, the founder and president of AgeWise Colorado. Barbara Boyer is our executive director and on the call here this morning. And I’m going to begin with a brief introduction to what we’re going to be talking about today and the panelists and then a very brief introduction to what AgeWise Colorado is, so I’m going to share my screen right now.

So this is our 44th education webinar since we launched this service in 2021, in the summer of 2021. We’ve covered a lot of territory. What you’ll notice on the screen here is we are now part of the Colorado Older Adult Financial Justice Coalition, which is under the umbrella of the Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging. This is something that was formed very recently, and I think probably some of our panelists may be involved in this in some way, and I know some of the people who have joined us are involved.

Today’s panelists, and I’ll introduce each of these folks in order when we get ready to start, but you’ll see here, Brian Blauser, Mark Fetterhoff, TJ Blair of the Denver Police, and Lynn Lowe, and we’ll talk a little bit more about them when we introduce them.

So who is AgeWise Colorado? Our mission as a non-profit is simply to connect for free all older Coloradans and their families, so usually that means adult children, to reliable, helpful services, products, information, assistance and education to help the three million plus people over the age of 40 on the aging journey here in Colorado and to age well and age wisely. And as you can see here, we are that connecting point between those three million and what we estimate to be about 3,000 different kinds of service providers in the state.

This is simply a screenshot from our website. We encourage you to visit the website and learn more about that and how to navigate. A lot of great information on the site. Every one of these webinars has been recorded and is also on our website and on our YouTube channel.

This is our schedule for, well actually March now, so we’ll be talking about housing with a focus on decluttering and relocation on March 6th and then a focus on affordable housing on March 20th.

Our first speaker is going to be Brian Blauser, who currently serves as the supervisory special agent of the Complex Financial Crime Squad in Denver, which handles investigations into securities, investment fraud, fraud and swindles, healthcare fraud, intellectual property right matters and money laundering facilitation. Brian joined the FBI in July of 2004 as a special agent and, of course, is still with the FBI as the supervisory special agent. So Brian, can you talk to us about what this means to be in this position and what you do?

Brian Blauser:

Yeah, sure. Just to give you a quick lay of the land. Thank you for having me, I guess. So here in Denver, the FBI covers a large territory. We cover all of Colorado and Wyoming. And without getting into the nitty-gritty details of how our office is really structured, we have agents assigned to work investment fraud, frauds and swindles and various other types of frauds, which is part of my squad that I oversee. So we and myself are talking to victims of all ages on a very regular basis to hear their stories and their experiences, and it is something that is not a great part of the job because it is sad to hear the individual victim stories on the other side of the table because it is so devastating to a lot of them. It fuels our passion for seeking justice for those individuals in whatever methods we can. But yeah, thanks for having me. I’ll be happy to present a little bit more as my time is up here, I guess.

first order: Bob Brocker:

You can go ahead and proceed, Brian.

Brian Blauser:

There we go. So a lot of the stuff here I’m going to have to breeze through just based upon the timing. These are much deeper topics that I could go into, how to prevent yourself, what to do if you’ve been impacted by them, but for this purpose, I am just going to cover what the scam is and the different components of it. But I really wanted to highlight, like I said in the opening there, how impactful these are on victims of all ages, not just the elderly.

We have a collection point that’s called the ic3.gov where you can go and get a lot of information about scams, you can report scams, but it really aggregates the data that is being reported on it. And as you can see on this slide here briefly, the loss amounts have grown greatly over the last five years to the point where in 2023, we expect it to be even much, much higher. It’s certainly a rampant problem, and the scammers are having some great successes, and I won’t go into the reason behind all that, but nonetheless, the biggest trending scams we are hearing about on a daily basis are going to be these four for the most part.

And like I said, I’ll try to go into these briefly, but just to highlight them a little bit, so tech support scams, business email compromise scams, cryptocurrency-related investment fraud, and then romance and confidence scams. So these are broad umbrella topics, but the bad guys are always changing their scripts, if you will, or how they’re trying to convince people to be scammed, but these are the broad topics that I’ll go into.

So the first one that I just want to highlight because it has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years and is having a tremendous financial impact on those involved is the cryptocurrency-related investment fraud. We expect the losses to be nearing $4 billion this year or from 2023 with no slowing in 2024. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t talk to a victim who has experienced a significant loss related to a cryptocurrency investment scam. So really, just again in a very brief overview of what this is, you are contacted via an unsolicited text message through a social media account, through a dating website, a romance scam type of initiation, and they basically say, “Hey, I’ve been making a lot of money in cryptocurrency and I’ve got a very successful uncle in it and I could hook you up with them, serving as your mentor, if you’ve ever thought about investing in cryptocurrency.”

Now, obviously, the script that I just relayed is not going to be the exact, but that’s the general premise of it, but they just want to get you interested in cryptocurrency, the buzz of Bitcoin and the crazy values that it’s had. So they’re trying to convince you that cryptocurrency is a latest and greatest way to make gobs of money and they’re going to help you navigate how to do such. So that’s the initial hook.

If you seem interested, then they’re going to initiate their scam really and they’re going to direct you to, again, their family member or relative or financial advisor that’s been so successful in these cryptocurrency markets, and you’re going to be hooked up with that person and they’re going to initiate how you can go about investing in cryptocurrency, all the money you can make, how successful they’ve been, and they’re going to walk you through the process of how to do such.

They’re usually going to have guaranteed returns that are astronomical but usually, a lot of the initial individuals that become victims start quite small, a couple of thousand dollars because it’s something new to them. Maybe the person they’re talking to on the other side of the chat conversation, they’ve never met in person so they’re probably a little leery, as they should be, but they go ahead and decide, “You know what? This cryptocurrency thing is a hot topic right now. I just hear so much about it. So yeah, I’m going to drop a couple of thousand dollars into this and see what happens.” And so they do.

And they were given a website to go to where they have an account and a login that they can access them or a bank account, and they see their initial deposit of $2,000 and then over the next couple of days, they can trade in nodes or whatever terminology the bad guys are using for that specific script. But they are using terms that are associated with cryptocurrency but not the reality of how cryptocurrency works or cryptocurrency trading works. So again, it’s just more just to confuse you because a lot of people don’t have a strong understanding of cryptocurrency besides the term cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, whatever. And so that’s what they’re preying on that you don’t and you’re going to blindly follow this individual with their advice to you.

So long story short, you constantly are logging into your account, you’re seeing how big the balance is growing, that initial small investment so you want to invest more. So you do that and obviously, that balance grows astronomically as well, and you keep investing and investing and investing. You’re going to ask families and friends to invest. You’re going to maybe take out second mortgages to invest even more. We’ve seen it all. And the balances that individuals invest is crazy, but at the end of the day, when you think that you want to pull out some money to test it, you usually are going to say, “Oh, can I get a couple of thousand dollars out because I want to see how legitimate it is?” The bad guys are going to let you do that because all the money you put in is your money, so they’re just going to allow you to take some of that back.

Again, it’s giving you the false sense of hope that oh, this is a legitimate investment opportunity and I can easily withdraw money, so you plow more money into it. And really, you keep going until you try to withdraw more money after that point, that initial investment that you may get back. And at that point, then the scammers really kick in with, “Oh, you’ve got a luxury tax to pay. Oh, money laundering has been alerted or the money laundering algorithm we utilize has flagged your account for money laundering and we need you to pay some fees to get out in good standing,” whatever, again, terminology they want to utilize basically to convince you to pay additional funds to be able to withdraw funds that you supposedly have earned.

And they’re just going to keep going and going and going with all of these taxes, fees or whatever to unfreeze your account until you realize you’ve been scammed because you will never get any of your funds back. It’s all in cryptocurrency and has been moved, who knows where, in seconds after you made your initial deposit. The bad guys control the website that you’re able to log into and can control whatever balance they want to show that you’ve made. So really, there is no returns. There is no profit. It is just a complete scam from the get-go and you’re going to lose all of your funds in that one. So that is cryptocurrency investment fraud.

Tech support scams are another big, big scam these days where a lot of individuals who may not be overly tech-savvy may receive a pop-up that says, “Your computer has been infected via a virus. Call this number.” Maybe you receive a phone call that says, “Hey, this is Microsoft tech support. Your computer was just alerted that there was a virus or some unauthorized likely activity on there. Did you do this transaction?” Maybe you get an email that says, “Hey. Amazon. Was there a $5,000 iPhone purchase on your Amazon account? Call this number if not.” And so they’re really trying to get you to call the phone number where they can really enact the scam and that they will convince you that there has been some unauthorized activity in your account and you need to move your money fast because we also see that the scammers are trying to hack into your computer account or your bank account and they want to take your funds, so we need you to move your funds in essence.

So they’re going to transfer you to maybe somebody at a government agency that probably has nothing to do with moving funds, but they don’t know that because they’re not really familiar with how our government agencies work. But nonetheless, they’ll transfer you to somebody with the FTC or treasury department or whatever it may be to convince you that, “Okay, they’re helping me out and they’re going to help secure my bank account.” But ultimately, they’re going to convince you that you need to send your money to a protected account that they’re just establishing for you.

We’ve called it the Phantom Hacker Scam. Norah O’Donnell on the Nightly News did a nice story. I won’t play it because it’s a couple of minutes long, but nonetheless, it really highlights an individual who lost about $800,000 in the scam. And sadly, that is not an uncommon story from a lot of the experience that I’ve had with individuals.

So again, they’re trying to convince you that somebody has hacked into your bank account. You need to send your money to a protected bank account, which, of course, they’re going to establish for you, and you’re going to transfer all of your funds into that bank account. And it’s really an account that the bad guys control and there’s never a protected account. So they’re going to convince you to wire all the funds that you can, your savings account, your checking account, your retirement accounts, whatever they can get to and convince you of. They’re going to take …

Speaker 3:

Well, tonight the FBI-

Brian Blauser:

Oops, there we go. So romance scams, again, just briefly, they are what they say. None of the stuff I’m presenting is rocket scientist stuff here. It’s just romance scams have blossomed and really impacted the elderly community over the past probably five years since COVID hit because of the companionship was lost, you couldn’t visit people and so a lot of elderly turned to dating apps, which are a haven for fraudsters. And the romance scams usually start off quite innocent and the bad guys aren’t going to do anything abruptly. They’re going to try to develop rapport. They’re going to try to develop emotional buy-in. So they’re going to talk sweet. They’re going to say nice things. They’re going to act like they’re interested in your background, your family, whatever it may be.

At some point in this romance scam, and it may not be for a year, it maybe not be for two years. Some of these have been growing for a long time because they’re just drawing you in with the emotional connection and then they’re going to start asking for small amounts of money. They’re going to say, “Oh, we’re going to get married. I want to come visit you. I need money for the plane ticket,” or whatever small stuff they want to start, and that just snowball effect and they will keep asking for larger and larger amounts of money until you realize that you are being scammed. So that’s just the romance scam. Again, the numbers are staggering and these are very common.

Sorry. I’ve just blown through this because I don’t have a whole lot of time and I just wanted to highlight a lot of the main scams we are seeing right now.

I think it’s suffice to say that really if you are meeting somebody online, most of the time, they’re going to try to send your messaging to a WhatsApp or something outside of the dating website and then they will start asking for the money and everything else. But really, if you are talking with anybody online that you have never met in person and they start asking for money, I would say a very high percentage that is a scammer and they are going to continue asking for money. No matter what stories they come up with, no matter how in love with this person you are, that person is a scam and they do not have any of the characteristics of the profile that you think you’re talking with, so they’re just doing it to take all of your money.

All right. So I think I’ve used up my 10-plus minutes here, but I’d be happy to take questions, I know Bob had mentioned, towards the end, so I will just share the brief highlights there of some of the biggest scams we’re seeing right now and turn it over to our other fantastic panelists that we have.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Okay. Thanks so much, Brian. I’d like to introduce now Mark Fetterhoff. Mark is the program manager for AARP ElderWatch and has worked on education and outreach to older adults for over 15 years. Mark currently works with a crew of dedicated volunteers to address thousands of inquiries each month about fraud scams and financial exploitation as a part of AARP’s fraud helplines. So Mark, tell us more about your world.

Mark Fetterhoff:

Yeah. Thanks so much for having me, Bob. I’m thrilled to be here, and I’m just trying to get my slides in place real quick. But for those of you who are not familiar, ElderWatch is a 20-plus year partnership with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, and we’ve been doing this type of work with whoever has been the attorney general since Ken Salazar actually, and so it’s a great partnership that we have and, again, thrilled to have it. I’ve been in this role for just over eight years as the program manager.

I think that one of the things that I want to talk about today are some of the things that we’re hearing from Coloradans all over the state about the frauds and scams that they’re dealing with, a few of the trends, what Brian was talking about as well, and then talking about some ways to report. Sorry. I’m just trying to get it so I’m in presentation mode here.

first order: Bob Brocker:

I know you know this and I do too, but sometimes it’s hard to find it. [inaudible 00:19:15]

Mark Fetterhoff:

Well, it’s the screen at the top. It’s the Zoom screen. I’m just going to go with the slides. It’s just fine. Can you see them okay?

first order: Bob Brocker:

Yes, yes, we can.

Mark Fetterhoff:

Okay, wonderful. Sorry. So in addition to the work that we do in Colorado in our office, we also are doing national work across the country. We have hundreds of volunteers across the country who are taking phone calls as part of our helplines. The ElderWatch Helpline specifically is for older adults in Colorado, as well as the Fraud Watch Network Helpline, which is the national helpline based on the work that we’ve done here in Colorado and it has turned into a national program. Again, we’re taking upwards … just under 100,000 calls a year between our two helplines. And so, one of the things that I want to talk about is just what we’re hearing about on our helplines. And Brian talked about some of these scams, but I also just wanted to do a little bit of compare and contrast in terms of what we heard in 2022 versus 2023.

You can see in 2022, imposter business was our number one most common type of scam that we were hearing about. And in 2023, identity theft definitely reports and has turned into the number one most common scam that we’ve been hearing about on our helpline from older Coloradans, and that rings true in terms of what we’re hearing about nationally as well and so different types of identity theft issues. I’ll just say that there’s different types of identity theft-related issues involved in almost every scam that we hear about. And so a lot of it is making sure people are getting to important resources to protect their identity, doing things like checking their annual credit report, as well as placing fraud alerts and credit freezes too.

Imposter business scams have largely been driven in the calls that we hear by using names like Amazon that are very common to many of us. And so I would say, well, lion’s share of those scams have really been using again those names like Amazon, PayPal, other types of maybe shipping entities like a FedEx or UPS, that type of thing too.

Brian talked about the tech support scams, and you can see that that’s held true for the last two years in terms of reports that we’ve heard about. I will say one of the things that we’re seeing with regards to the tech support and computer virus scams is that scammers are using different tactics. One of the tactics that has changed in recent history is them using names like Norton and McAfee and Geek Squad to try and trick people into believing that they have an invoice to do that type of a thing. And so that is I think something that’s really important that’s changed. It used to just be the Microsoft name that was being used. Now it’s all different types of entities that are part of the computer industry.

I think that another major effect of these types of scams changing is that scammers, like Brian talked about as well, are going for way more money than they ever used to before. And so when I talk to a tech support scam victim, it’s much more common that instead of losing $400 or $500 like they did in the past, they are having someone who’s accessing their bank account remotely and oftentimes wiping out the bank account in those situations, so much more dire those tech support scams are. And I think people just really have to be aware that letting anyone onto your computer remotely is a very dangerous thing to do if it’s especially an unsolicited contact.

Number four on our list, fraudulent sales. You can see that’s come up in 2023 from 2022. And those fraudulent sales, so many of them are based upon online sales, and so puppy scams. We hear about different types of fake websites just pop up. Also, different types of issues people have with Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist as well, trying to purchase things like cars, used cars and that type of a thing and then never receiving them. So just knowing that doing that extra research with regards to any type of purchase you’re doing online is critically important.

Sweepstakes, prize and lottery scams have come up, as you can see in 2023 from 2022, and I think that’s important to note. We are getting more reports of those scammers posing as Publishers Clearing House and Mega Millions International, whatever, they make up many different names, but important to remember, you should never have to pay money to receive money as part of any type of sweepstakes, prize or lottery. Very, very important and again, knowing that those are trending a little bit in our world.

Phishing scams you can also see are up from, in 2023, to 2022 and phishing scams for us are oftentimes a catch all. Again, someone not doing the good type of phishing down at the lake, they’re phishing for your personal and financial information, sometimes logins and passwords as well. So we’re seeing that more in the form of text message as well. People, again, trying to get you to click on links, saying that they’re with the United States Postal Service or other types of entities.

Number seven, home repair and improvement scams just down a little bit from the previous year, but again, these are often complaints someone has about a contractor or an issue that they’re dealing with in their home. Sometimes it’s a fly-by-night operation, but I would say more often, it is a problem with a contractor. We’re always recommending folks do a little bit of extra research before engaging with a contractor.

Number eight, Brian talked about online dating and romance scams, and this one has gone down a little bit since 2022, but I’ll say nationally, we’re seeing this in our top five. And the amount of losses, as Brian mentioned too, are oftentimes the most devastating of any of these scams. So I won’t say any more about that.

Auto sales and repairs, again, something that we’re hearing more and more of. We’re getting multiple calls a day right now about different types of problems with auto shops. And so again, doing that research very much like when you’re hiring a contractor.

And then housing issues and living arrangements, it’s no surprise that this showed up on our list in 2023 as the cost of housing has gotten more and more expensive in Colorado and people are dealing with different types of issues with their landlords and that situation as well.

Just a couple of of things I wanted to talk about. I know Brian talked a lot about cryptocurrency, and I just want to echo the fact that this is really important that folks know that if people are asking for payment in cryptocurrency, it is a scam, and we’re hearing that a lot on our helplines. We’re hearing multiple reports of million dollar losses with regards to different types of crypto payments and crypto investment opportunities, so just be really, really careful about that.

Peer-to-peer payment apps as well. Scammers are requesting payment via Venmo, Zelle, Cash App. Remember that peer-to-peer payment apps are a great way of transferring money to your friends and family and maybe a service provider like someone who cuts your hair or that you know is doing a service for you. And so know that those are safe for those type of transactions, but they’re not safe for paying for something on Craigslist and just expecting that item to show up in the mail.

Gift cards, we still hear a lot in terms of the type of payment that is requested from scammers. And so knowing that gift cards are for gifts, never as a form of payment for any type of thing that you’re purchasing, as well as accessing bank accounts directly. And I think that goes very much along with what I was talking about with regards to the tech support scams too.

And just a couple of of communication methods that we’re hearing about that transcend scams. Again, a lot more reports right now where the scams are starting on text message, and I think that’s really as it reflects how people talk today, people are talking with their friends and family via text message, and so scammers again have moved to that method of communication because they know that spam filters are much better than they used to be and people aren’t answering their phone calls from people who they don’t know. So really important to be aware that so many of those text messages that we’re getting are scams and not to click on links or respond to folks. Even if it’s just someone saying hello, those hellos are sometimes the start of a problem with regards to scams.

Social media scammers are really honing in on social media as a way of getting a hold of people. When Brian was talking about romance scams, it just continues to make me think that so many of the romance scams that we hear about don’t necessarily just start on the mesh.com. So many of them start on Facebook or Instagram, someone just out of the blue saying hello. And so I think it’s really important that if you are on social media, you’re extra cautious about who you’re talking to and only talking to people who you know in person or have a reasonable acquaintance with. And if they ask for money, know right away that it’s a scam.

Better phishing emails than we’ve ever seen before, posing as banks, Netflix, whatever. Anything that you get an email from, just be very, very cautious. If something feels wrong, look for the red flags too, including misspellings and who the email is actually coming from. The IRS does not send out emails from a Gmail address.

Also, I think it’s really important to remember that apps with any social component where people can talk to one another who are using that app are also a hotbed for scammers and they’ll be there. Lots of reports still of Words with Friends, even gambling apps where people can talk to one another, games where people can talk to one another. Definitely something that’s trending as well and something that folks need to be watching out for when they’re using them.

Here’s some entities that we’re most commonly telling people to report to. I know our next presenters are going to be talking about reporting to local law enforcement, so I left them off this list for that reason, but ElderWatch, you can always give us a call. We have volunteers who are happy to chat with you about different types of scam situations that you’re dealing with. We’re part of the Colorado Attorney General’s Consumer Complaint Line. We’re option two when you call that 1-800-222-444, and we’re happy to take your report and also to direct you to other resources for any types of situations.

The Colorado Attorney General’s website for reporting fraud is stopfraudcolorado.gov, and again, they’re in the process of revamping that website, and so I’m excited to see what they’ve come up with in the coming months.

Identitytheft.gov is probably the website that I am referring people to the most of any website when I’m talking to people in our helplines because you can file identity theft reports on there, as well as get proactive steps and reactive steps to protect your identity at identitytheft.gov. You can do things like get information about checking your annual credit report, placing fraud alerts, credit freezes, all those things, as well as filing a report of a situation regarding your identity.

Brian already mentioned ic3.gov. We’re definitely constantly referring people to ic3.gov to report different instances of fraud, particularly internet-related fraud but really any type of fraud too. It’s a great resource, and great numbers come out from that resource.

And then the FTC, all of our information that we get on our helplines is reported directly to the Federal Trade Commission through their Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel, and so know if you’re reporting to us, that information goes to them too. But also, people there do want to directly report to the FTC, and we will send them there. But I believe my time is up as well. Thank you, Bob.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Thank you, Mark. That was great. We’ve had two great presenters so far and we have two more great presenters to come. So our next speaker is Sergeant TJ Blair, who is the supervisor of the Denver Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, which investigates allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly and at-risk population in Denver. So TJ, please tell us more.

Sergeant Timothy “TJ” Blair:

Awesome. Thank you so much.

first order: Bob Brocker:

And Lynn Lowe is going to speaking too, Lynn Lowe. I’m going to introduce Lynn right now too, so I don’t overlook that. Lynn is the senior resource navigator for the Denver City Attorney’s Office in the Prosecution and Code Enforcement Section. Lynn works with clients 60 years and older who are victims of abuse, neglect, self-neglect and financial exploitation.

Okay, with that, I will turn this over to you, TJ and Lynn. Thank you.

Sergeant Timothy “TJ” Blair:

That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Bob. And thank you to both Brian and Mark. This is going to segue I hope very, very smoothly.

So I’m the supervisor of the Special Victims Unit here in the Denver Police Department. And so we’re going to go through some things that are in effect here in the state of Colorado. The first one being the mandatory reporting law. Colorado, it took us a little while to get to the game on the mandatory reporting laws. All states now have mandatory reporting laws for our elderly, our senior community. Colorado started theirs in 2014, and then we amended again in 2016. So in the state of Colorado, to be considered an at-risk person, you have to be at the age of 70 or older or you have to be an adult out in our community with an intellectual developmental disability.

And the way we have it set up here in Colorado is that if you are a mandatory reporter and you suspect that there is some abuse, neglect or exploitation going on, you must report it to law enforcement directly. And then law enforcement, it’s our responsibility to share those reports with Adult Protective Services and with the District Attorney’s Office within 24 hours, and then we follow up with everybody and work very closely from there. Lynn, thanks.

So what makes Colorado unique was the way we set up our mandatory reporting law and the way that we handle these things. In many states, they report to an Adult Protective Services’ Fusion Center where all the calls go into and then they sift through them and then they send them out to the appropriate jurisdictions. Colorado set it up differently to where all reports from mandatory reporters must go directly to law enforcement. When this happens, it will trigger response and a law enforcement will actually respond out and make contact with that person, get the eyes onto the person to find out what’s going on, which is a pretty good system.

So here’s the next thing that makes Colorado unique. Not all states have it where financial institutions are mandatory reporters in the state of Colorado. So in Colorado, financial institutions are mandatory reporters. So even if you’re banking with a large bank, I’ll use Wells Fargo as an example, they have a fraud fusion center that’s located up in the Pacific Northwest. And if they suspected suspicious activity on a senior’s account, they will look up where that person lives, what the jurisdiction is, and they will make that report directly to law enforcement. So we get these reports and they go right into our call center, into our 911 center, and this will actually trigger an officer to show up at your home.

The reason why I’m bringing this out is a lot of people in our community get upset when an officer shows up on their door and starts asking questions about suspicious activity that’s been reported by their bank. This is all part of the law and it’s all a requirement. People are very protective of that information. They feel offended that their bank has betrayed them when they’re doing this, but really everybody is … This law was put into place to protect people and has been hugely successful because we’re able to stop a lot of fund losses that are in progress. So if you have a situation like this where the officer shows up, even if everything is completely legit, you just tell the officer that, “No, I knew exactly what was going on and I am transferring that money for X, Y and Z.” The officer is still required to make a report, so that report can be shared with Adult Protective Services, but it will immediately be closed and there’ll be no other followup from there.

Okay. Sorry. Lynn is controlling my slides.

So why do we have this mandatory report and this law? And I just threw this in there. This came right out of the legislative declaration that was added in 2016. And I just love the verbiage because where I don’t always agree with things that come out of the Colorado legislature, this I thought was really great. It really shows exactly why we have these laws in place. The goal is that seniors are greatly affected by these crimes. If a person is 24 years old and they lose a large amount of money in a scam, well, they have time in their life, they’re going to make it up. But if you’re 80 years old and you lose a large amount of money in a scam, you’re not going to have the opportunity to make it up. It’s going to change the direction of your life. It’s really going to affect you. Okay, Lynn, thanks.

So the Denver Police Department, I want to talk a little bit about what we’re doing and then I’m going to transition right over to Lynn. So in 2017, as part of the mandatory reporting law, we came up with our own specialized unit, the Special Victims Unit, and we investigate all allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of an at-risk person. So we had said that’s anyone 70 years of age or older or an adult who has an intellectual or developmental disability.

I have four detectives assigned underneath me. I am part of the major crimes division, so the same division that has homicide and sex crimes and all those. We are part of that. We’re stationed with our Financial Crimes Unit because, and I’ll let Lynn go to the next slide here and I’ll explain that, so we’ve been keeping track of our allegations since 2017 when we were first created, and it is consistently tracked across the board ever since then. It’s that 20% of our allegations are abuse related, 20% of our allegations are neglect related, and 60% of our allegations are exploitation or theft related to our senior and at-risk community.

So when a detective gets these cases, it’s important that they are well-trained and know how to follow the money or chase the money as we like to say on these financial cases. And as Mark and Brian both mentioned, a lot of these are crypto cases, so we still see a lot of that. A lot of them is … We still use gift cards, are still used by the scammers all the time.

And I just want to echo again, I can’t state this enough, crypto is just on the rise for even the simplest of scams, and it isn’t just seniors. It’s all across the board and it’s just become so commonplace where when crypto really came out in the state of Colorado, there was one crypto ATM and it was up in Boulder, and so we knew where it was and it was new and it was exciting. Now there are crypto ATMs everywhere, including in the grocery stores. A lot of the Coinstar machines that everyone is familiar with are actually now crypto ATMs. So it’s become so commonplace and that’s why the scammers are using those to go after them. All right. Next slide, please.

So I’m going to transition right over to Lynn here. So back in 2019, since we’ve been doing this for a little while, we’re started seeing a trend where scam victims, we’d have a victim of a scam, we’d go out, we’d investigate, we’d follow up with them, and then maybe six months or a year later, that same name would pop up again. Well, the scammers are pretty smart, and they know, well, this person was pretty pliable when we talk to them and so we’re going to change the script and we’re going to flip the script, we’re going to change the way we’re approaching them and we’re going to come after them again. And so we were just seeing what we call re-victimization.

So in 2020 in the midst of the COVID lockdown, we tasked our senior resource navigator, who is Lynn, is in the current position, and we tasked this person with basically, we’ve got to do more follow up with our senior scam victims. We have to really get the information out there to them and give them the tools where they really understand why they were victimized and how we can prevent it in the future.

So to date, since then, almost all of our senior scam victims, a very small percentage are not followed up on. The senior resource navigator goes out, provides them educational material, provides them support. Some of our scam victims don’t want to believe it’s a scam. They are hooked into it very deeply, and it’s a long process to try and get them to stop sending money or stop communicating with the scammers.

So with that, I’m going to switch and I’m going to go over and I’m going to let Lynn start talking, and she’s going to talk a little bit more about the psychology and what it takes to help a person who’s been the victim of a scam. Lynn.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Okay. Thanks, TJ.

Lynn Lowe:

Hi, everybody. Can everybody hear me okay?

first order: Bob Brocker:

Yes. We can hear you loud-

Lynn Lowe:

Fantastic. Thank you. So as Sergeant Blair said, we started looking at why people, who are very cognitively sound, incredibly intelligent, were falling for these scams more than once. And I did some deep research and found that the scammers love to keep what it looks like an Excel spreadsheet, which has all of our information out there. We have to assume in this day and age that everybody’s information is out there on the black market. And what they’ll do is add notes to that. So every time you click on a link and answer a survey or respond to an email or answer the phone, they mark those numbers, those emails as legitimate, and then they hone in on you. And again, they will come up with many different options in terms of trying to figure out what scam is going to work.

I think the reason that the scams went up in 2020 is more people were accessible. Scams are successful because everybody now has a cellphone, everybody is on the internet. We used to go and visit people. Now we’re connected through social media so that accessibility is there. And again, with COVID, everybody was home. That was our only social outlet at the time. Oftentimes, the stories that the scammers are providing, they’re plausible, and they have the tools of the internet to show that they really are who they’re saying they are, even though it’s not real. It’s a lie. Okay.

The scams are sophisticated and they’re always changing. They’re always changing. So just when you learn about a scam, there’s another one that comes through that you may not have heard about. At the same time, in our personal lives, especially as older adults, we might be dealing with a lot going on in our life. We may have lost a loved one, a significant other. We may have been recently diagnosed with an illness. There’s a lot happening at that time. And scammers are excellent customer service representatives. They’re better at customer service than our actual customer service representatives. They’re kind. They’re helpful. They’re like used car salesmen. They are there to help you in whatever you need, and they’ll build that trust and keep that relationship going. This is their full-time job.

A lot of times, what I get frustrated with is when I learn about a scam, they often change it by the time we’ve learned how to deal with it. So what I started doing was teaching people how to recognize a scam no matter what scam it is. And what I like to encourage people to remember is those red, what I call red flags, scammers are working on triggering that emotional center of our brain, whatever that is. If it’s a joyful, elation situation, and those are where our Publishers Clearing House scams, our romance scams, our lottery scams come from.

If you’ve been scammed before, you might get a call from somebody who claims to be from the FTC or an FBI agent saying they’re going to help you get your money back when in fact, that’s not possible. Those are those feel-good chemicals. You want to believe that those things are really happening. And unfortunately, we have to go back to trusting our gut. And when something doesn’t feel right, it’s usually not right. So if something sounds too good to be true, then it is.

They often will send out a phone call, a text message or an email with a problem, something that causes a stress, something that makes us panic. It has to deal with our money or our computer has been hacked, something in regards to our personal information. When that happens, we’ve all heard of fight or flight and we’re dealing with a chemical dump that includes adrenaline and cortisol, and when that’s happening, our critical thought process goes to the wayside. So when you think about a time when you were overly emotional and you said or did something that you later regretted when you were thinking clearly, that’s what happens to somebody who is being affected by a scam.

We like to think, “Oh, I can’t believe you would fall for that. I would never fall for that.” And when we hear about scams, right now our critical thought process is working, so it sounds like I could never fall for something like that. But when you’re under duress and you’re not thinking clearly and you’ve got a lot of things going on and you might be tired, scammers are known to keep people on the phone for hours, you can fall into that situation of just wanting to fix that problem. And that’s what they’re counting on, and that’s that first red flag.

Any business, any government agency, any stranger has presented a problem to you, please stop communicating immediately and find that valid safe source. So if they’re calling you, claiming to be the IRS, hang up. Call the IRS. Find a valid safe number that you know is the official number. If it’s Denver Police Department, same thing. As scary as that is, hang up. Call the non-emergency line.

That second red flag is a sense of urgency. They don’t want that chemical dump to stop. They don’t want that cortisol and adrenaline to stop flowing because they know you’re not thinking clearly. Victims will report to me that they felt like they were hypnotized. They felt brain fog. They just were so exhausted and could not put two and two together even though something didn’t feel right. So that second red flag is if you don’t do it now, something worse will happen, and that’s that urgency. They don’t want you to stop with that adrenaline dump.

And then the last red flag is coaching and isolation. Don’t tell your husband. Don’t call your son. Don’t call the police. Please don’t call the bank. Somebody in the bank is a fraudster. They’re just trying to keep you isolated and they’re also coaching you. They may stay on the phone with you and tell you exactly where to drive For those cryptocurrency banks. They may tell you what stores to get those gift cards from. And they’ll have you lying to not only the cashier but the bank teller, telling them that you’re doing this for home repairs or a grandson’s graduation. No legitimate business or government agency is going to ask you to lie.

Anytime any of those three things happen, stop communicating. And it’s really important, we have taken advantage of this, the cellphones, the internet, all this cyber stuff that we want everything really fast. And when we’re in a panic, we want to fix that problem immediately. We need to do a slowdown. We need to breathe and we need to say, “What is that safe valid source?” I utilize ElderWatch all the time. I tell my clients, “If you don’t know, if you’re not sure, stop and start over. Contact these resources and they will help you decipher if what you’re dealing with is a scam.”

The other thing is make sure that, again, this has been repeated but I’m going to repeat it again, do your research. If you make a phone call to Amazon customer service and something doesn’t feel right, stop and start over. Double check those phone numbers. Contact a family member or friend to help you. If you get a link from somebody that you know and trust, contact them and say, “Did you mean to send this to me?” Don’t take for granted that because you know that person or it’s your neighbor that that link came from them, specifically their emails, their Facebooks could have been hacked, and that link is coming from somebody who’s going to try to steal your money. Excuse me.

Never call the numbers back on any email or text message. Please try not to take part in the free trial offers. I know that sounds exciting and helpful to the pocketbook, but oftentimes, those are scams coming at you. Right now, we’re seeing a lot of people lose big amounts of money. Scammers used to start off really low and ask for $200, $600, $800. We’re seeing people lose every penny that they have worked hard and saved for, and it’s gone with no opportunity to gain it back.

And once that scammer has taken everything that they can from you in terms of what is in your bank, they will then, again because they’re not done and they have your information and they have accessibility to you, they will then try to use you as a money mule. They might send you checks that have no money behind it, and just because the bank deposits it, it does not mean that check is good. You might not get a notification from your bank for up to 10 days to two weeks letting you know there was no money behind that check and now you’ve gone and spent it, so now you owe the money to the bank. So not only have you lost money from your savings, you now are in debt to the bank.

Again, going back to the internet in terms of the accessibility that they have in terms of tools, don’t ask for verification. Don’t call the number back and ask if they are who they are. They will prove to you who they are. They have the logos. They have the CEO’s pictures on letters that they can send you, and it doesn’t mean it’s real. Please don’t answer phone calls that are not in your contacts. Even if it says IRS, even if it says Denver Police Department, look up those numbers for yourself.

In terms of the romance scams, the fake accounts, the AI, deep fake voice cloning, I won’t go into that because it’s already been stated, but just double check. There are ways to check and verify photographs or ways to verify and check phone numbers. There’s a lot of apps and services out there. And please don’t pay for anything that you haven’t ordered for. Never prepay for a service and don’t click on opt out calls if you don’t know where they’re coming from. That is another way of phishing for scammers, including unsubscribe in your email. That’s letting them know that there’s a live person at the end of that email.

Disregard your urgent emails. That’s them trying to stress you out. Again, making sure that you pay attention to the emails. If you have a friend at JOHWAYNE9@gmail, they will create JOHWAYNE99@yahoo and send you an email, asking for money because they might be in dire straits. Make sure you’re paying attention. If anybody is asking you for money or any of your personal information, slow down and do your research. And all this has been stated before.

I will talk about the IT support scam, that one, only because that’s been pretty prevalent lately. You might get a flashing light. You might get an alarm, a sound that says your computer has been hacked or your computer is at risk, and the first thing it’ll tell you to do is not turn off your computer and ask you to contact IT or Microsoft. That’s nothing but a scam. Turn off your computer immediately. Unplug it from the Wi-Fi and do not log back in until you’ve had your computer scrubbed. If you think that you’ve previously clicked on something and your computer didn’t blow up so you think you’re safe, I would highly encourage you to have your computer scrubbed because that could be somebody in there just biding their time, watching your accounts, watching what you’re doing, getting into your email contact list.

If you feel like you’ve clicked something on your phone, same thing. Take it to your provider, Verizon, T-Mobile. Ask them to please take a look and make sure that there’s nothing nefarious on that phone.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Okay. Well, thank you so much, Lynn and TJ and Mark, Brian. Great information. And I think now we can open this up for some questions. Does anybody in the audience have a question? If you don’t, I might have a couple, but I did see one in the chat from Barbara. And she asked about, is anything being done to stop the robo scam calls? Does anybody want to reply to that, Mark, Brian, Lynn, TJ?

Brian Blauser:

Well, that’s a little bit out of my scope. I’m sure the cellular companies and the telecommunication companies are probably trying to work on those things, but I am not knowledgeable about their undertakings to do such.

Lynn Lowe:

So there’s an app that people can download, it’s called Nomorobo. For your landline, it is free. On your phone, they do charge on a cellphone $5 a month. You can also register with the FTC, but you have to keep in mind that criminals aren’t going to listen to a registry. They’re not going to abide by that. What I always encourage people to do, as tedious as it is, is to block those calls, report scam. Everybody’s phone is different. And this goes with email as well. Don’t just delete it. Make sure that you’re sending your emails to junk email, reporting spam or block sender because then, your email provider knows and your phone provider knows that you don’t want those emails. You don’t want those numbers contacting you.

If it’s inundating and they just … It’s because you made contact with scammers, you’ve been working with them, or maybe you’ve given money accidentally, then you’re not going to be left alone. And if it is inundating, unfortunately, you may want to think about changing your email, changing your phone number. I know that’s not the best situation, but right now, those are the tools that we have.

first order: Bob Brocker:

I use the Nomorobo myself. It works really well and-

Lynn Lowe:

You can also take your phone to the phone … Like I said, going back to Verizon, T-Mobile and saying, “Look, this is a problem. What apps do you recommend for me to thin this out a little bit?” Lack of contact is going to be where they leave you alone. If you’re not responding to those texts, you’re not answering phone calls that you don’t know who they are, that’s going to lessen the amount that you get. So with my phone, I was getting them all the time and because I don’t answer, I maybe get two or three a week, which is doable. But if you are communicating and maybe you don’t realize you’re communicating with them, and if you are, they’re going to keep coming and they’re going to come in handfuls.

first order: Bob Brocker:

I’ve heard some people say, “Well, I’m smarter than they are so I just keep them on the line.” So what do you say about that?

Lynn Lowe:

I like to use a fishing analogy, even though phishing is a term that we use for scams, but think about when you go to the lake and you try to catch a fish and you get bored and you try different strategies and then you try different bait and you finally get a bite. Every time you click on a link, every time you answer that phone, every time you tell them, “I know you’re a scammer,” and you mess with them, you’re basically biting the hook. You’re telling them, “Hey, I’m here. And you just have to figure out what kind of bait I like. I’m here. I have a bank account. I have a phone number. I’m accessible and I’m willing to answer the phone every time you call.”

And I have had so many victims tell me, “I knew better. I’ve avoided the latest 20 new scams, but this one just really had an impact on me for whatever reason.” And that’s all they’re doing. They have all the time in the world, and if they know they can contact you, they will figure out what scam they can use against you.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Thank you. So we have a question from Sylvie. I’m sure all of you can read it. Would anyone like to reply to this? I’ll read it out loud. Seeking suggestions on what, if anything, could be done to protect a widow. She’s mentally and emotionally sharp, 92 years old. Her husband died eight months ago. She receives a survivor pension that covers her income taxes, 7K a month, assisted living residence fee, her health insurance premium, and about 1,500 to cover extras. Has 300K in total assets from selling her home and moving to assisted living. Has a good son and a bad son. She has a state of Colorado’s statutory form POA naming sons as agent and co-agent and giving each son the right to act independently, either/or. Bad son is openly wiring funds out of her bank account and she’s choosing to ignore. This is pretty common actually. Family members are often the worst perpetrators, and I’m sure all of you would back that up. And the good son is concerned. And so I what to do? Suggestions?

Sergeant Timothy “TJ” Blair:

Well, I’ll go first. Obviously, the first step would be to try and get back into whatever probate court issued that, but that doesn’t sound like that’s an option she’s willing to … So we would actually, I think everyone should be under the understanding that if you have a power of attorney, that does not give you the right to go in and break the law or take money that you’re not authorized. That’s probably the biggest thing. This is actually something that we would look at criminally. I would encourage, if you are in Denver, I know that you’re a third party involved, but you can still make a report as an anonymous person to find out what’s going on through the non-emergency line. We would need to get a report into the system and we would open up an investigation.

I know Chief Deputy District Attorney Jane Walsh has been on AgeWise before for one of these. She is our district attorney that looks at these, and she is pretty aggressive when it comes to going after someone who holds POA and is abusing the POA laws. So if that person is using that money and it’s not for the betterment of that person, of that senior, then that is something that can be charged criminally. It’s a tough case to prove, but I would encourage that legal action be started on this, both in the probate court and in the legal system.

first order: Bob Brocker:

So TJ, I know I mentioned a minute ago that the family member thing is pretty common. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

Sergeant Timothy “TJ” Blair:

Right. So friends and family members, I always throw that out there. It’s trusted people. It’s people that are trusted and really, it’s a smaller percentage when you compare them to the strangers that are out there trying to victimize because we have to lump in the scams that go in there. But once we get into somebody who’s actually exploiting a senior that’s out there, I would say that a family member or a close friend is super common.

The biggest problems with that is that they have gained the trust. The term that we use is undue influence. They’re using undue influence where they’re coercing the senior to openly give access to funds or give money away, but the problem is it’s going to be detrimental to that senior later on in life. So they’re difficult cases to go forward with, but usually what we try and do is the first step is to stop the bleeding, is what we call it, and so that’s to stop the loss of those funds that are out there. So I don’t know. I could talk about it for a lot, but I think we’d be going down the rabbit hole quite a bit.

first order: Bob Brocker:

It is a rabbit hole. So we have a question about is it possible to trace a scammer? Anybody? TJ, you’re on screen.

Sergeant Timothy “TJ” Blair:

There’s YouTubers and some Tiktokers that actually will, in their spare time, they actually go after these guys. They actually will try and call into the call center. And if you follow any of those, Lynn has more information. That’s not really my world. I will tell you from our standpoint is that when we start chasing phones, they’re not real phone numbers. They’re voice over internet protocol phones, and they bounce through several VPNs all over the world. It’s a pretty long, hard chase.

I believe that our federal partners do a good job if they identify that there’s a source from a call center in a country and there’s multiple reports. That’s why it’s very important that every scam victim and every fraud victim that’s out there also make that report with IC3. We like to have that so that our federal partners have that information, and then if they see that there are many, many, many scams being perpetrated out of a certain IP address for a phone number, then they run with it from there. But on the local level, I’m going to tell you, it’s very uncommon that we’re able to get much traction there.

first order: Bob Brocker:

I’ll add a little bit to that. I have actually received scam calls from my own phone number.

Lynn Lowe:

Yeah, they’ll spoof legitimate numbers. If you go to your Play Store, if you look up spoof calls on any phone, any cellphone, there’s a dozen apps that anybody, including myself, could download and fake a number. So it’s incredibly challenging to trace anybody with the technology that’s out there and the availability of the apps. So that’s why we have to really focus on protecting ourselves on a local level.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Back to Sylvie’s question for just a moment, we had a follow-up question asking, if the family member lives outside of Colorado then if it’s the bad son who happens to live … is taking money and lives outside of Colorado, how should that be reported?

Sergeant Timothy “TJ” Blair:

Whatever jurisdiction the victim is in currently, that’s where it needs to be reported. And then from law enforcement agency to law enforcement agency, we can transfer the case around if needed be. But don’t overthink that. Just wherever that victim is, that’s where the report needs to be generated.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Okay. Thank you. Do we have any other questions? If you want to take yourself off mute and ask a question, you can do that too. If you can’t take yourself off mute, let me know and I’ll do it. Okay.

I also wanted to mention that we received an email just recently, two days ago from somebody representing someone who’s famous, saying that this person would like to make a donation. And it was actually addressed to several nonprofits and saying, “All you have to do is provide your bank account information and your EIN number and we’ll make a donation.” Never heard of this person before, ever, and it just came out of the blue, so we didn’t respond of course. But anyway, it’s happening with nonprofits now. That’s the first one I’ve ever seen. It probably won’t be the last.

Speaker 7:

And can I ask a question about that?

first order: Bob Brocker:

Sure, sure.

Speaker 7:

Is that something that we should report-

first order: Bob Brocker:

Well, I sent it to-

Speaker 7:

… so that there is an email.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Yeah, I send it to Mark and Brian.

Speaker 7:

Oh, you do. Okay.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Okay. Do we have any other comments from any of our presenters? Mark, I see you’re off mute. Did you have something you wanted to add?

Mark Fetterhoff:

Oh, no. I think that I just was going to comment on the reporting aspect. And I think it is important to report these different types of instances. Especially Bob, that instance obviously is one that’s going to target you and other folks who work in the nonprofit world. It’s very much like we see on the holidays, what we call a “Can you do me a favor” scam where oftentimes, they target churches too. And if people aren’t talking about these types of things … And the favor scam would be maybe someone getting an email or a text message from someone saying it’s the pastor or other type of leader at the church. And then saying something to the effect of, “Oh, we’re buying 10 $100 gift cards for needy families. Will you go out and buy them and we’ll reimburse you? Just send me a picture of all those gift cards,” which is a really common thing.

But around the holidays when I’m having these conversations with people at churches about the different types of scams, I think that’s a really important one because you start realizing that that church, all these churches have been hit by those types of things. And so talking within the nonprofit community about those types of scams too, while that one was a little bit easier to debunk, it just goes to Lynn’s point about how much these folks are really sometimes targeting their victims, creating lists and maybe digging deeper to do more of this type of spearfishing attempt that we hear about that are oftentimes probably more successful than just calling out to thousands and thousands of people hoping that someone responds.

And so again, as scammers get more sophisticated and looking for different techniques to target different populations, you just got to keep sharing that information so we can make sure everyone knows about it.

Lynn Lowe:

And to piggyback off that, again, just if somebody is asking you for money, whether it’s for a charity or information about yourself, if you just would please go to that source. So if your pastor emails you asking you for this gift card, all it takes is a quick phone call. “Did you send this out? I want to make sure this is you.” And you will prevent from purchasing that gift card out of good faith in your heart.

The last thing I would like to say is please be kind. Please be kind to somebody who does share that they’ve been scammed. It is incredibly traumatizing. It’s invasive. It’s very scary to think that somebody was able to do that to you, and it’s not any different than any other crime victim, and it takes a lot of courage because people feel ashamed, they’re embarrassed, they feel dumb, and none of that is true. But for them to have the courage to be able to tell somebody and to get the word out, most times they’re trying to tell you so that you won’t fall for it. So don’t be harsh. Don’t be judgmental.

And if you know somebody who’s in a romance scam or possibly in a romance scam, again, be gentle. That relationship is real to them. And so you’re not only telling them that they’ve lost their money, but you’re telling them that this person that they cared about for the last year, maybe even three years, is not real. And that’s really hard to accept. And it takes time. And if you’re being judgmental, it’s not going to make them get out of that relationship any faster or easier.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Excellent point, Lynn. Thank you. Yeah. People are embarrassed enough already. Don’t make it worse. And it can happen to any of us. All you have to do is one time, don’t read … If you don’t read the email address, even though it says it’s from Chase Bank or whatever, and the email address is not a Chase Bank email address, that’s a pretty dead giveaway. But if you don’t look, then it’s going to happen. Okay.

Nanette Shorter:

I have a question. May I ask a question?

first order: Bob Brocker:

Go ahead. Yeah. Go ahead.

Nanette Shorter:

I’m a survivor of TBI. I happen to be in my 70s also, and I work with elder population or have in the past. And I’ve noticed that in a way, TBI survivors, many of whom can be young or middle-aged or not necessarily under the blanket of AARP or age watch and they are highly susceptible too. And some of them may not be in financial need when they start their journey through TBI, but it’s very likely that as they proceed, they will be low income. But especially at the beginning, there may be the possibility that they can easily be targeted even more than other people within their usual age range. I would like to know what may be done or what could possibly be done in that scenario. Thank you.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Maybe it would be helpful to define what TBI is. Not everyone knows, Nanette.

Nanette Shorter:

Okay. Traumatic brain injury, both acquired, or in my situation, it’s acquired from concussion or spinal cord injury as well. Thank you.

first order: Bob Brocker:

All right. Thank you. So that would be … Okay. I won’t try to answer that. So I think one of you will, one of our panelists.

Sergeant Timothy “TJ” Blair:

So we get a lot of reports that involve victims that have TBIs, traumatic brain injuries. I can’t stress enough. So to be qualified as an at-risk adult, they would have had to sustain that traumatic brain injury before the age of 22, and that’s just by statute, but we still will reach out and try and help victims that have traumatic brain injuries that are out there. There are several support agencies that are out there. They should be connected already to a community center board if they live in the Denver metro area. Our community center board is Rocky Mountain Human Services, and they have a brain injury waiver that they can be under to get them supports that they need. There are a couple of other agencies that are out there that supply supports to our TBI community because it is a real problem.

And what you’re saying, they do end up usually being on the lower income because of medical bills and other things that have come up. And they are usually very susceptible to scams and people that will take advantage of them, which just makes the situation worse. So I guess if there is something criminal going on, I always encourage you to report. But in a general, to try and answer your question, is to get people connected to the supports that are out there for our citizens that are out there every day with TBIs.

first order: Bob Brocker:

Okay. Thank you so much, everybody. It’s time for us to sign off now. We really appreciate all of you joining us today and especially our presenters. This has been great. I’ve learned a lot myself and I always appreciate that. So thanks again, everyone, and have a great rest of your day. Enjoy. All right. Take care. All right. Bye-bye.