Death post again targets Mr Bean and it is not just a distasteful hoax but a scam with potentially harmful consequences.
You may be tricked to:
- divulge your credit card details
- download software that allows scammers to take control of your computer, stealing your files, installing malware
- supply your personal contact details which will be shared with unscrupulous online marketing companies and “site sponsors”
A “breaking news” post, which appears to come from Fox News, is currently being shared on social media. It features a photograph of much-loved actor Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) along with the words “R.I.P. 1955-2017” across it.
The “headline” claims that Atkinson has died at 62 in a car crash while attempting a stunt.
The photo has a video “play” icon, which implies that clicking it will play news footage about the supposed death.
However, Atkinson is not dead and the post does not come from Fox News.
He is alive and well and there are no credible reports that suggest he has been in a car accident.
In fact, the post is a scam. If you click on the post, you will be taken to a website that appears to host the video about Rowan’s demise.
But, when you try to play the video, you will see a message claiming that you must complete a security check and share on Facebook to continue watching.
A Facebook share box will appear in a new browser tab. You will be prompted to share the fake “Breaking News” post on your Timeline.
At the same time, the original page will be automatically redirected to a scam or malware website. The exact destination of this redirect may vary.
In some cases, you will be taken to a fake “Security Error” web page that falsely claims that your computer has been locked because it is infected with viruses. You will be prompted to call a “support number” urgently to seek help with the supposed security issue.
However, if you do call as instructed, tech support scammers will try to dupe you into giving them your credit card details, supposedly to pay for the fixing of your computer.
The scammers may also try to trick you into downloading software that will allow them to take control of your computer, steal your files, and install malware.
In other cases, you may be redirected to a dodgy “survey” website that promises the chance to win prizes in exchange for supplying your name, home address, email address and phone numbers. But, your information will be shared with unscrupulous online marketing companies and “site sponsors”.
In still other cases, you may be redirected to websites that harbour malware, rogue apps, or malicious browser plugins.
There have been several previous scam messages that have falsely claimed that Atkinson has died. Similar fake death posts have targeted many other celebrities around the world.
Be wary of any celebrity death message you receive via social media, SMS, or email. Before clicking or sharing, check the death claim by searching a legitimate news portal. If a famous person has died, his or her demise will definitely receive widespread coverage in the mainstream news media.
If you click on such a death post and the website insists that you must share the post or visit third-party websites before you are allowed to watch a video or access content, close the website immediately.
If you are taken to one of the tech support scam websites, you may have a problem closing the site and exiting your browser.