I'm Jack Nicas, a tech reporter for The New York Times. I investigated con artists who impersonate American servicemen on Facebook and Instagram to scam women. For the story, I traveled to Nigeria to meet these scammers. Ask me anything about Face...
Here is my story about military romance scams on Facebook and Instagram. The fraud has ensnared thousands of victims and smeared the reputations of countless soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. While such scams have proliferated on social media for years, Facebook and the United States military appear helpless to stop it. The most recent episode of The Times’s new TV show, “The Weekly,” was a one-hour special focused on the problem.
For the story, I spoke to dozens of victims — both the scammed women and the impersonated servicemen. I also questioned Facebook and the Pentagon about what they do (and don't do) to combat the problem. And I traveled to Nigeria to talk to the scammers and understand where the cons originate.
At The Times, I cover the immense influence of large technology companies like Facebook and Apple. I’ve written about celebrity impostors on Facebook and Instagram, as well as fake Mark Zuckerbergs that scam people out of cash. I was one of the five bylines on The Times’s monthslong investigation into Facebook’s recent crises, which helped win the Polk Award for national reporting and the Gerald Loeb Award for investigative reporting. (I also am part of the team that’s been investigating how Boeing’s 737 Max jets ended up with a fatal flaw.) You can find all my stories here. Before joining The Times, I spent seven years at The Wall Street Journal covering technology, aviation and national news.
UPDATE: Thank you so much for all the smart questions. This was fun. I'm signing off for now, but will try to check back later. We appreciate your readership and interest.