MONROE, Ga. - Pastor David Smith gathered with his faithful flock at Monroe-Church of God, a small gathering compared to the thousands of Facebook followers on the church page and his personal account. But there is a problem on Facebook.
Pastor David Smith said someone duplicated his personal page and is reaching out to his Facebook followers in an apparent scheme involving starving babies.
"It's just a good pool for them to use that tactic to get some money yeah and use starving babies as a hook," said Pastor Smith.
The pastor said his congregation does conduct missions, but never solicits through social media. He said the most frustrating part has been Facebook's written response to get the fake site removed.
"This profile hasn't been removed because it doesn't go against Facebook's community standards about identity and privacy," said Pastor Smith reading the response from Facebook.
As FOX 5's George Franco was talking to Smith Wednesday evening, a representative of Facebook called in response to an earlier email.
Pastor Smith was asked to email the fake page link to Facebook. Franco was told Facebook has online tools to help manage sites.
James Wright with Atlanta IT Service said duplicating a Facebook account is easy to do. He said it involves copying pictures and information to open a fake account which looks exactly like the original.
Wright said hackers then learn who their Facebook friends are, send friend requests, and in the case of Pastor Smith solicit money.
He said if your Facebook page has been hacked, tell everyone, often.
"Send some posts, newsfeeds updates, say ‘Hey, my Facebook account has been duplicated.’ Do it constantly, not just once, but maybe every few hours," said Wright.
He also said you can send private Facebook messages. But that would be tough for Pastor Smith to do with thousands of followers who placed their trust in him.
"When someone reaches out to someone using my name then my character is at stake," said Pastor Smith.
In a written response Facebook told FOX 5 News, "We ask people to use their authentic names and identities. Claiming to be another person violates our community standards and we remove profiles reported to us that impersonate other people."
After FOX 5 News reached out to Facebook, Pastor Smith reported that the fake Facebook page using his name was taken down.