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Record-Setting Call-a-thon on Investment Fraud

Smilin’ and Dialin’ – and protecting Coloradans 50+ from the dangers of financial fraud – is what it’s all about for members of the AARP Foundation’s Denver-based consumer protection team.

See Also: AARP Foundation Colorado ElderWatch – Protecting Seniors From Fraud

That was clearly evident on July 19, when Marriott’s City Center Hotel served as the backdrop for the Colorado Consumer Fraud Prevention Call Center’s Smilin’ and Dialin’ call-a-thon.

Three dozen program volunteers, community partners, AARP and Foundation staff kept the phone lines buzzing with information on investment frauds and scams that target the 50+ population. In just over six hours of non-stop calling, participants reached out to more than 2,100 consumers, far surpassing the 1,450 residents contacted at their initial call-a-thon in 2009.

“Recognize, Refuse and Report” is another mantra at the call center, part of the Foundation’s Colorado ElderWatch project.

“Our goal at ElderWatch is to empower older consumers with the information they need to see these frauds and scams coming,” said Bob Toye, call center manager, “to steer clear of them and if necessary, inform the proper authorities.”

The call-a-thons also provide volunteers from other ElderWatch programs with the opportunity to work side-by-side with AARP staff, making new friends while serving their community.

For Joe Pells, the day was especially sweet. An 84-year-old retired businessman and veteran, Pells has been a weekly call center volunteer since the program opened its doors three years ago. Just as the call-a-thon was picking up steam, a video crew from ABC TV's local affiliate popped in to surprise Joe with their Channel 7 Everyday Heroes award.

Interested in becoming a fraud fighter volunteer? Contact ElderWatch at 720-947-5304.

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