Facebook scammers go under the microscope this week on the FX Channel news program "The Weekly," produced in partnership with The New York Times. "Connecting the World" (airing Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT) takes a special interest in scammers who impersonate military members.
Reporter Jack Nicas introduces us to Renee Holland, a woman who was swindled out of her nest egg and whose story ends in tragedy. He interviews Renee and her husband Mark after the scam drained their bank account.
During the course of Nicas' work on the story, Renee and her father Rudolph Rehm are murdered. Mark was found at the scene and later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Nicas later sits down with Marine veteran Daniel Anonson, the man whose face was used to scam Renee and her family. We've got a clip in which Anonson learns about the dozens of accounts that impersonate him online.
Facebook, busy dodging questions about fake news and the widespread sale of user information, has so far failed to address the scandal of fake accounts that exploit its more vulnerable users.
The Pentagon, veterans and scam victims have tried to raise the issue but haven't gotten much of a response from Mark Zuckerberg's crew. Nicas also visited the Pentagon to speak with Kim Joiner, deputy assistant to the secretary of defense for strategic engagement, about the Pentagon's attempts to deal with the issue. We've got two more advance clips below.
These scams may not affect huge numbers of people, but the damage they do to the individuals they entrap is enormous. Scammers (many of them based in Nigeria) are using the goodwill generated by the sacrifices of military men and women to commit crimes that largely go unprosecuted.
"The Weekly" is usually a half-hour program, but this week's episode will run a full hour as FX and The New York Times advocate for making this issue a national priority.