TODAY   |  June 15, 2013

Fake charity page steals pictures from mother’s blog

Like many parents, Sarah Gilliam started a blog to capture the special moments of her son Jack’s childhood. However, those photos weren’t being just shared with friends – they were instead used by a stranger to build a total lie. NBC’s Tom Yamas reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> most parents' smart phones and social media pages are full of photos of your kids, right?

>> but what if those photos weren't just being shared with friends but instead used by someone you've never met to build a total lie? like many parents, sarah gillam started a blog to capture the special moments of her son jack's childhood. but without her knowledge, those precious snap shots popped up on another website with an all together different intention.

>> i knew these were very simple, mundane images of him playing in the yard with a cape on. to see these images turn into this was your last walk was really hard to read.

>> reporter: remembering reilly was a blog claiming to pay tribute to a 3-year-old boy who died of leukemia. the problem? all the pictures were of sarah 's son, jack, shot after shot taken directly from sarah 's site. an identity stolen, a tragedy fabricated, complete with t-shirts and ribbons designed to commemorate a child's story that never existed. the warrior eli hoax project, a watch dog for internet scams , was alerted to the fraudulent blog after some readers noticed inconsistencyies in the details.

>> there were families that followed her that had children who were dying. you know, so that's really tough to digest.

>> reporter: the cyber sleuthing started. they tracked down an alerted sarah and contacted the alleged hoaxter a 17-year-old high school sophomore in north carolina . she has since apologized to sarah saying in part, you have every right, beyond every right to be furious with me and with what i have done. it's an ungrateful, shameful, humiliating, downright awful thing. on the facebook page for the hoax, she also states, i didn't make any money. i didn't send any money. i did not receive any gifts. it was just the blog and nothing else, i promise.

>> i think there should be some consequence. otherwise, actions like this in lifting images and fabricating stories will just go on.

>> now, the fake blog has since been taken down along with associated facebook and youtube pages. sarah gillam, jack's mother, has contacted authorities and an investigation is ongoing. we did one of these for our baby because we have family in new orleans and miami. it is a great way to share photos. they are so easy to make. we put so many safety precautions in place because we were terrified of something like this happening.

>> when our oldest one was born, he is 6 1/2, we were on facebook then but would do online photo albums we would share. at one point we had to say to people we sent these to you. we required a pass word for a reason. they were forwarding them to other people. over protective mother here. i didn't want you seeing pictures of my kid if i didn't authorize