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A Special Appeal to Facebook Users - Unauthorised Use of Baby Zoe Chambers Photograph

Last updated: 13th January 2012
First published: 13th January 2012
Article written by Steve Williamson

Zoe and Julie
Image used with permission of Julie Chambers
One version of a hoax message that is currently circulating rapidly on Facebook features a photograph (right) of baby Zoe Chambers and her mother Julie. The caption on the circulating photograph claims that baby Zoe will receive a free heart transplant if the picture receives 1000 Facebook shares. However, this caption is a blatant lie. Zoe suffered from CHD (congenital heart disorder) and received a heart transplant operation in 2007. Sadly in July 2008 she passed away. Zoe's mother Julie is extremely upset by this cruel and totally unauthorised use of Zoe's picture.

The heartless and morally bankrupt individual who originally misused this photo is a Jamaican who goes by the name of Garen Thoms. He had shared it on his fan (read scam) page on FB "Free Digicel Credit". He also uses the name "FreeCreditGuy". Initial investigation into this showed me he was using the photo to line his own pockets as the photo description included a link that led to one of his scam websites where people were tricked into making PayPal donations to his own company, thinking they were donating to a CHD cause. I exposed him on his fan page and thanks to Julie's large group of friends in the CHD community the picture and indeed his fan page were removed from Facebook.

Since then however, a number of people have downloaded their own copy of the picture and added it to their own walls. Some commentators have wrongly claimed that the child is named "Morgan Knight-Brown." This is incorrect - this person is another one who had their own copy of the photo on their wall. Morgan Knight-Brown was unaware of the circumstances around the photo and had shared her own copy on her wall. This was further shared by in excess of 55,000 people and many messages were sent asking her to remove it. Morgan appears to primarily use her cell phone to access Facebook and it took a couple of days for the messages to reach her due to the different way cell phones handle Facebook. Once she was aware of the issue with sharing Zoe's photo she promptly removed it, and posted a status alerting her friends that they should not share the photograph. However, there are still at least two other source instances of the picture that we are trying to get removed.

Details of Mr Thoms, his scam and the nefarious use of the picture, have been passed to the police. I have also reported him to the web hosting company of the three domains registered to him and am still awaiting updates.

The continued circulation of Zoe's photograph as part of this absurd hoax is causing great distress to Zoe's mother Julie. If you see this photo in use anywhere on Facebook, apart from among the profile pictures of Julie Chambers, please report it.

Garen Thoms runs the following three websites, each of which have a message stating one should "Like" the page or wait a random number of seconds before seeing the content - which in one case is nothing more than a default template.

A whois lookup on each of those domains reveals the following details:

Thoms, Garen
Shaw Park Lime Bottom
Ocho Rios P.O Box 840, ST Ann 99999
[email protected]

Interestingly - his scam page offering "free digicel credit" (Digicel being a cell phone provider in Jamaica) has resurfaced with a new name and he is claiming he had to take it down and remove the name "digicel" but a more probable reason why is the mass reporting of the site by people in support of Julie.

One of the newspaper articles where the photo was stolen from:
Heart transplant for British toddler who suffered six heart attacks

Newspaper articles reporting on Zoe's passing:
Heart transplant child Zoe Chambers has died
Transplant girl who had six heart attacks before she was 18 months old loses battle for life

Last updated: 13th January 2012
First published: 13th January 2012
Article written by Steve Williamson