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Evading scammers online and elsewhere

Experts share common ways bad actors operate in financial scams and how to prevent becoming a victim.

As Iowans face financial scams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Omaha Field Office Gene Kowel joins River to River host Ben Kieffer to share how the private and public sector falls prey to cybercrimes and best practices to stay safe in the digital arena.

Later in the hour, Chief of Staff for the Iowa Attorney General’s Office Lynn Hicks walks through a checklist consumers should use when hiring home improvement contractors, and how some Iowans have been targeted by solar energy panel scams. Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen shares how the Iowa Fraud Fighters works to educate and protect elderly Iowans from investment and other types of fraud.


  • Gene Kowel, Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent in charge of the Omaha Field Office, which covers Iowa and Nebraska
  • Lynn Hicks, chief of Staff, Attorney General of Iowa
  • Doug Ommen, Iowa Insurance commissioner
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Natalie Dunlap is a rising junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and minoring in gender, women's & sexuality studies. She is from Iowa City and in her free time enjoys getting coffee and reading downtown with friends.