Celebrating Everyday Heroes in Denver

Every week, volunteer Joe Pells goes to the AARP Foundation Colorado Consumer Fraud Prevention Call Center in Denver and makes about 90 phone calls to warn seniors about financial scams. He’s done this for three years, spoken to nearly 5,000 people and performed more than 500 hours of service.

Joe Pells shows off the 7Everyday Hero Award presented to him by Mitch Jelniker (left), anchor man for the ABC 7News TV station in Denver.

He’s an amazing super-volunteer.

Denver’s ABC7 TV station recognized Pells’s dedication, naming him a “7Everyday Hero” earlier this month. The station gives the weekly award to Coloradans who initiate solutions, motivate others, represent or serve working families and work on a nonprofit basis. Watch a video news report about Pells here. Congratulations, Joe!

In his three years of service, Pells – a retired insurance company executive and Navy veteran – has helped the fraud prevention program address a wide range of issues, including advance fee/money-transfer frauds (the phony lotteries and awards programs), home loan modification, foreclosure prevention scams, identity theft, sound-alike charity fundraising rip-offs and most recently investment scams.

Part of the foundation’s highly successful consumer fraud programs, the call center (which Pells helped launch in 2009) provides valuable one-on-one information designed to educate consumers to “Recognize, Refuse and Report” the wide range of frauds and scams for which they are the daily targets. (AARP Foundation estimates Americans lose $40 billion to investment scams every year, and many victims are seniors.) To date, the Colorado center’s fraud fighters have spoken with more than 300,000 seniors nationwide.

Don’t fall for telephone, e-mail or other scams! Read up on the latest threats at AARP.org’s Scams & Fraud page.

Photo credit by Amy Nofziger