Image © magicinfoto/depositphotos.com
According to a “breaking news” post that is currently being shared on social media, much-loved actor Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) has died in a car crash while attempting a stunt.
The post, which appears to come from Fox News, features a photograph of Rowan Atkinson along with the caption “R.I.P. 1955-2017”. The post includes a video “play” icon, which implies that clicking a link will play news footage about the supposed death.
However, Rowan Atkinson is not dead and the post does not come from Fox News. Rowan is alive and well and there are no credible reports that suggest that he has been in a car accident.
An example of the scam post:
Post Opens Scam Website
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 Mr Bean’s demise.
But, when you attempt 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 trick you into giving them your credit card details, ostensibly to pay for the repair 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.
Verify Before Clicking on Celebrity Death Posts
Be wary of any celebrity death message that comes your way via social media, SMS, or email. Before clicking or sharing, check the death claim by searching a legitimate news portal such as Google News. If a famous person has died, his or her demise will almost certainly receive widespread coverage in the mainstream news media.
And, if you click on such a death post and the website insists that you must share the information 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 find it difficult to close the site and exit your browser. For more information about dealing with this issue, refer to this report:
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!