High-profile Christian leaders like Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Perry Noble, Miles McPherson and others are warning their supporters about the unauthorized Facebook pages identifying with their ministries. According to The Christian Post, Osteen, Warren and McPherson’s ministries notified users in recent weeks that scammers were setting up fake Facebook accounts using their names in order to solicit donations. Some fake accounts are even exploiting the recent death of Rick Warren’s son, Matthew. Others targeted include megachurch pastors Benny Hinn and Jamal Bryant and LifeWay Research president Ed Stetzer.
Facebook policy communications authorities told CP that the social network site has a “dedicated User Operations team” that reviews scam reports and takes action, including flagging and blocking suspected fake accounts. A 2012 CNN report suggested that 8.7 percent of accounts on Facebook are fake.
However, most Christian ministries find the benefits of using social media networks far outweigh the challenges. Andrea Davis, senior director of media relations/social media for Lakewood Church/Joel Osteen Ministries, told CP that social media was a “great witnessing tool” and an “effective means for reaching large numbers of people and for allowing those people to share Pastor Joel’s important message with even more people.”
Users who suspect a ministry Facebook page is a scam can report the page to the Facebook Help Center.