Brett Johnson

Brett Johnson, the man the Secret Service dubbed "The Original Internet Godfather," is joining the non-profit organization's Advisory Committee to help protect Maricopa County seniors from fraud. Johnson is considered to be one of the leading authorities on cybercrime.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and R.O.S.E. has announced that Brett Johnson, the man the Secret Service dubbed "The Original Internet Godfather," is joining the non-profit organization's Advisory Committee to help protect Maricopa County seniors from fraud. Johnson is considered to be one of the leading authorities on cybercrime.

After being placed on the United States Most Wanted List, Johnson was captured and convicted of 39 felonies. He promptly escaped from prison but was recaptured and served his time. He was sentenced to 90 months in federal prison. Given a second chance by the FBI, Johnson is now considered to be one of the leading authorities on cybercrime, identity theft and cybersecurity on the planet. Johnson built the first organized cybercrime community, known as Shadowcrew. It was the precursor to today’s darknet and darknet markets. He looks forward to working with R.O.S.E. to protect elderly Valley residents from losing their retirement savings.

“I work hard now to protect consumers from the kind of person I used to be,” said Johnson. “I stand behind what R.O.S.E. is doing. Senior citizens are vulnerable because many of them are not technically adept."

Senior citizens need all the information and tools they can get to avoid these costly and embarrassing scams that in many cases can result in their retirement savings being gone forever. That’s why Joyce Petrowski formed R.O.S.E. Resources/Outreach to Safeguard the Elderly, a 501(c)(3) organization, in late 2021. Based on a personal experience with a loved one, Petrowski, who is the founder and board president, recognized a need in the community. The elderly are often targets of criminals because of their philanthropic and trusting nature.

“Brett is a wonderful addition to R.O.S.E.’s Advisory Committee. He brings a unique perspective with his background and there is no one with more knowledge or experience in fraud prevention,” said Petrowski.

R.O.S.E. is reaching out to senior centers, senior organizations, independent living facilities, assisted living facilities and retirement groups in Maricopa County to offer interactive and educational face-to-face presentations to seniors and their families to make them aware of what scams are out there and how they can prevent becoming a victim.

For more information, visit roseadvocacy.org.

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