Celebrity death scams hit the second gear with Brad Pitt’s suicide hoax
Celebrity life has always been an active topic of discussion among the pop-culture enthusiasts. Unfortunately, peoples’ interests are often taken advantage of by malware creators, and the recent news about the divorce of the famous actor couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have sparked new hope of potentially gaining some easy profit. So, the scammers came up with a fraudulent idea to fake Brad Pitt’s death. Soon, the social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter began bustling with users discussing, sharing and commenting on a link that stated:
Brad Pitt, 52, a multi-awarded American actor and husband of Angelina Jolie, 41, shot himself in the head at a shooting range on Sunday. He was under significant stress because the couple ‘were going through a divorce and he had a history of depression’, sources have said.
The “breaking news” were supposedly announced by the media giant Fox News, which led quite a lot of Brad Pitt’s fans to believe the legitimacy of the report. Engaging as much users as possible was a crucial part of the scammers’ plan. Fortunately, concerns and reports regarding these suspicious links have reached the experts before the deceptive malware managed to spread more extensively. After examining the related banners and links, the investigators have found that apart from displaying the fake news story, the site to which they led to also tried to persuade the users into downloading rogue applications, purchasing fake antivirus scanners and filling phishing surveys. It was also found that the scam initially started spreading via Facebook and prompted the users to install Fox News app with unlimited access to the profile information. The Facebook administration has already issued a warning, urging the users to change their passwords immediately if they have interacted with any of the mentioned links.
Celebrity death scams are not uncommon. In fact, just recently, the news about an alleged suicide of another young actor Jaden Smith was all over the media. Luckily, it was also quickly debunked and publicly announced as a fraud. Though such scams rarely come to any lethal consequences, they may still have some negative impact. They are primarily focused on data gathering which can later be used for spamming and online marketing purposes. Of course, it can also be a convenient way for the malwaretizers to spread their nasty software around. Therefore, to stay safe, be careful with the click-bait news flash announcements on social media sites and better check your facts with the already acknowledged and trusted news providers.