Circulating “breaking news” posts claim that Donald Trump has suffered from a cardiac arrest and died while addressing the public. The posts include an image apparently depicting Trump collapsed on the stage floor after the heart attack.
The claims are false. Donald Trump has not had a heart attack and he has not died. Clicking on the fake posts opens a scam website that automatically redirects visitors to other websites containing browser hijacking tech support scams, survey scams, malware, or rogue apps. If you see one of these fake-news posts, do not click on it.
According to a “breaking news” post that is circulating rapidly via social media, US Presidential candidate Donald Trump has suffered a cardiac arrest and died while addressing the public. The post features an image of Trump apparently collapsed on a stage floor.
However, the claims in the post are untrue. Donald Trump has not had a heart attack and he has not died. The post is just a callous attempt to draw Internet users to a scam website that disguises itself as a news outlet.
The image of Trump slumped on the floor appears to be a shot from a 2007 Battle of the Billionaires, hair vs. hair “wrestling match” in which Trump briefly ended up on the floor of the ring. One of the wrestling ring ropes is clearly visible in the image.
If you click the link in the scam post, you will be taken to a “news” website that supposedly contains more information and video footage about Trump’s supposed cardiac arrest and subsequent demise. However, the website will automatically redirect you to one of several scam or malware websites.
In some cases, you will be taken to a fraudulent website that claims that your computer has a virus and you must urgently call a number displayed on the screen to get help with the supposed infection. The webpage will lock your browser and display a series of “tech support” popups. In fact, there is no virus. This is just a nasty trick to get you to call a bogus tech support hotline staffed by scammers. If you call, the scammers will demand that you provide your credit card details to pay for their “assistance”. They may also trick you into installing malware that can steal information from your computer.
In other cases, you will be redirected to a page that claims that you must update a browser plugin before you can view a “news video”. However, the “plugin” will actually be malware that can take over your browser, redirect you to further scam websites, and show malicious advertisements.
Or, you might end up on a survey scam website that tries to trick you into supplying your personal information, ostensibly to go in the draw for various prizes or offers. But, if you participate, your information will be shared with unscrupulous third-party marketers who will then inundate you with unwanted and annoying phone calls, text messages, emails, and surface letters.
Or, the site might redirect you to a rogue Facebook app that, if installed, will spam all of your Facebook friends with further scam messages.
Note that there are several versions of the scam messages that may falsely claim to be from different well-known news outlets.
This is just one in a series of celebrity death scam posts that have circulated in recent months. If one of these scam death reports comes your way, do not click on it.
It is wise to verify any social media reports claiming that a high profile person has died. If a famous person does die, the news will be extensively covered by mainstream news outlets all around the world. So, a quick search on a news portal such as Google News will usually reveal if a circulating death report is true.
Last updated: October 6, 2016
First published: October 6, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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