People living with brain injuries say they're vulnerable when it comes to scams

Work going on to provide support groups and resources to stay safe
People living with brain injuries say they're vulnerable when it comes to scams
Posted at 5:00 AM, May 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-30 13:38:57-04

PUEBLO, Colo. — There are more than half a million people in Colorado alone who are living with brain injuries and according to state numbers, more than 500,000 are hospitalized with brain injuries every year. People suffering from these injuries can have cognitive challenges that could put them at an increased risk for the attacks of fraudsters who contact them unexpectedly.

”Five years ago I had a major stroke and it really changed my life,” said Rebessa Wasil.

Prior to that life changing stroke, Wasil already had a passion for helping people with disabilities working to assist students at the Disability Resource Center at Pueblo Community College.

Now, she truly understands the challenges of a brain injury and is working to build a community of support.

”The capacity is there. The mental power is there, but you can’t always express it and so we need to be able to do more to help more people,” said Wasil.

According to research at the University of Washington people suffering from traumatic brain injuries may have problems with attention, concentration, speech, memory, reasoning, and problem solving. These challenges make people with brain injuries a vulnerable target for what Wasil describes as never-ending scam and fraud attacks.

”It takes you a little while to comprehend what they’re saying,” said Wasil. “They specialize in fast talking. That’s the game, trying to get you confused and trying to make you believe something is happening and it sounds so real and they look so earnest and then it’s believable.”

It’s why she’s urging people with brain injuries to reach out for help, maybe even starting with her office to build a community of support they can trust.

”People who have a great support system are less likely to do it, but people who are by themselves are much more likely to believe it and get roped into it,” said Wasil.

She says support groups have been a big help for her personally because she’s surrounded by other people who understand her struggles, but getting people to speak up about scam attacks is an ongoing struggle.

”The first thing people always say is “What were you thinking?” and then that keeps people from telling the truth, so if we can just listen and not be so judgemental and give them an opportunity to talk about what’s going on,” said Wasil.

If you, or someone you know is living with a brain injury, or other disability and looking to connect with people and resources there’s an event happening Friday June 2nd in Pueblo designed to help out.

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:

Mindsource Brain Injury Network


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