'Who's Julie Chambers? ' you're probably asking yourself. There's a strong chance you don't know who Julie Chambers is but if you are on Facebook or Twitter there's a fair chance you've come across her daughter, Zoe. There's a chance that you may even have donated money on a Facebook page to help Zoe get a heart transplant. The only trouble is that Zoe, sadly, died 3 years ago. In her short life, she suffered 6 major heart attacks and eventually, after being moved to the top of the European transplant list, a new heart was found but a viral infection a year later proved too much for her and she died at the age of 2.
A Jamaican conman by the name of Garen Thoms has taken a photo of Zoe from the newspapers and set up a Facebook page asking people to donate money towards a heart transplant. Needless to say, the money goes straight to him.
Can you imagine how that must feel for Julie Chambers? Not only has she lost her daughter but now her image is being used to con people. Julie can do nothing about it because she, personally, has not been defrauded.
And it's not the only one. Another one I received recently promised life saving heart surgery for a boy if enough people liked the Facebook page. Don't people think? Would any medical professional withhold life saving surgery until a social networking page had been viewed enough times? The boy in that photo is a surviver of Chernobyl and is photographed after having had heart surgery paid for by an international charity. The photo has been used without the permission of his family.
So how can you help Julie Chambers? She has asked Facebook to remove her daughter's photo from the site but they have done nothing (Respect, Mark Zuckerberg!) so she has linked up with Hoax Slayer to publicise her story and asking anyone who has put the photo on their own wall to please delete it. So if you have, or know anyone who has, please make sure you do.
If you have put any other photos of sick children on your Wall please delete those too. The chances are they are being used without the permission of the family. And don't send on these hoaxes and scams to other people.
One of my pet hates is Facebook hoaxes and those righteously indignant 'Please forward this e-mail to everyone in the known universe to right some terrible social wrong' (which probably hasn't happened in the first place0. You know the sort, 'Hover over my name... blah, blah, blah'. People just pass them on without a second thought. I know I drive my friends mad by always challenging them and posting links to show that it's all a load of rubbish but maybe I'm just more cynical (or less gullible). If someone sends me a 'story' about how some good old British men have been sent to prison for painting a poppy on a mosque wall while some nasty old Muslim defaced a war memorial and only got a slapped wrist I want to know the story behind it. That particular one turned out to be a story which originated from the English Defence League and the poor old British men turned out to be members of several hardcore racist groups and had a history of sustained attacks on Muslims and their property. Puts a whole different slant on it doesn't it. I'm glad to say it's passed on to at least one of my children.. The Boy's girlfriend sent him a video about a dolphin cull. The first thing he did was check it out online. It turns out the video footage has been largely faked.
One friend recently said 'but it doesn't hurt'. Well maybe not, but equally it lulls people into a false sense of security. They think if they follow the instructions their account is safe from hackers/aliens/Justin Bieber but often these hoaxes are started by scammers and will actually make your account less secure It takes a few minutes to check them out on http://www.hoaxslayer.com, www.snopes.com, http://www.thatsnonsense.com, better still, join their Facebook pages then you'll get details of all the latest hoaxes and scams before they land on your Wall. It may stop the sort of heartache and distress that has been caused to Julie Chambers.