Mary Lou Cooper

Mary Lou Cooper reports on consumer issues for KSFR as well as on politics and elder affairs. She also assists radio journalist Dave Marash at KSFR, conducting research and booking for the “Here and There with Dave Marash” program. She has worked for the U.S. Congress as well as for the Nevada and Tennessee legislatures, and remains a political junkie. She worked many years for an association of Western state legislatures and was a contributor to “Capitol Ideas,” a national magazine about state government.  In 2016 Cooper received a public service award from the New Mexico Broadcasting Association for her KSFR story on Internet romance scams.  She has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and from the National Federation of Press Women. She grew up in Oak Ridge, TN and received her BA from Emory University in Atlanta and her MA from the University of Texas Austin.  She also holds fiction and screenwriting certificates from the University of Washington.

When we think of international drug smugglers, we likely imagine young, cash-starved men traveling across borders by car or on foot.  But sometimes, the reality is quite different.  As part of KSFR’s ongoing series of features on older Americans, reporter Mary Lou Cooper tackles the issue of senior citizens as unwitting drug mules. 

As New Mexico plunges into the dog days of summer, temperatures are rising.   KSFR reporter Mary Lou Cooper brings us the story

KSFR continues our ongoing feature series on older Americans with a story about a travel scholarship program for family caregivers aged 50 and up.   KSFR’s Mary Lou Cooper brings us the details. 

Today is the National Day of Advocacy for Nurses and the end of National Nurses Week 2016.  In the U.S., nurses number 3.4 million.  New Mexico is home to some 22 thousand nurses.  What does the American public think about these front-line health workers?  This year and for many years past, nurses rank number one in Gallup poll’s honesty and ethics in professions survey--ahead of doctors, teachers, police officers and other highly regarded workers.  Reporter Mary Lou brings us the story of New Mexico nurses on this important day. 


This spring KSFR brings you a series of short features on older Americans.  Today’s report is on dementia, a rapidly growing disease with no clear strategies for prevention in most cases and no cure in all cases.  Reporter Mary Lou Cooper brings us the story (we recommend you keep a box of tissues close by as you listen). 

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Last night in Albuquerque two more people were assisted by the Red Cross when their home accidentally caught fire. Accidents happen on a daily basis, and more frequently for older adults.  As part of its ongoing series on issues faced by older Americans, KSFR explores today how to maintain safe and healthy homes in your older years.  Reporter Mary Lou Cooper brings us the story.

Today Attorney General Hector Balderas kicked off Money Smart Week in New Mexico with workshops scheduled to train people on elder exploitation, cyber security for elders, and also financial literacy and employment for younger folks.

Most of us anticipate tax season with the same enthusiasm we show for root canals. But for crooks and con artists, it’s a wonderful time of the year—a time to steal your identity, and your tax refund. Today’s topic is tax-related identity theft, which is the number one scam on the Internal Revenue Service’s Dirty Dozen list of con games.

Throughout tax season, KSFR has presented a series of reports from consumer protection correspondent Mary Lou Cooper, to help listeners avoid pitfalls and practices that can get them in trouble. Today’s report covers what’s new in 2016, how to avoid being audited and more.  Mary Lou talks with the Internal Revenue Service to find out just what Uncle Sam has in store.

Each year the Internal Revenue Service issues a Dirty Dozen list of tax scams and schemes.  In part three of our tax series this year, we see that padding your tax return with false or inflated deductions has made this year’s list… and the consequences can be dire.    

Less than one percent of all federal tax returns are audited…but beware, the higher your income the more likely you are to be audited. Falsely reporting expenses or downplaying your income are bright red flags to the IRS. Reporter Mary Lou Cooper brings us the story.

As if tax season weren’t stressful enough already, it’s a golden opportunity for con artists.  According to the Internal Revenue Service, tax scammers who impersonate IRS agents are at it again, trying to steal your money.  As part of a series of stories about tax scams and schemes, KSFR’s Mary Lou brings us today’s report.

It might feel far away, but April 15th is right around the corner. Each year the Internal Revenue Service compiles a “Dirty Dozen” list of the worst tax schemes and scams of the season.  In 2016, the list includes such things as identity theft, phone scams and tax preparer fraud.  KSFR’s Mary Lou Cooper brings us a series of reports to alert taxpayers to potential threats to their financial security. Today’s story explores how to pick an honest tax preparer…and how to avoid those who are unscrupulous.

Today, Mary Lou Cooper brings us part two of KSFR’s look at charitable giving in America.  She continues to explore “America’s Worst Charities” with the co-author of that report.

KSFR's Zelie Pollon spoke with AARP for the low-down on some holiday-specific charity scams. To listen, Click Here. 

According to Charity Navigator, a non-profit working to make charities more transparent and accountable, Americans gave more than 350-billion dollars to charitable causes in 2014.  Seventy-five percent of those donations came from individuals. KSFR’s Mary Lou Cooper spoke with Kendall Taggart, co-author of “America’s Worst Charities” to learn more about the good and bad of charitable giving in the U.S.  Kendall is now an investigative reporter at BuzzFeed.  When she researched charities, she reported for The Center for Investigative Reporting. 

With the holidays right around the corner, KSFR turned to the American Automobile Association for tips to make holiday travel safe and enjoyable.  Reporter Mary Lou Cooper brings us the story.