Circulating social media message, which purports to be ‘BBC ‘Breaking News’, claims that much-loved actor Rowan Atkinson, aka,’Mr Bean’, has committed suicide.
The message is a disgraceful hoax and it is certainly not from the BBC. Rowan Atkinson is alive and well. Links in the message open dodgy third-party websites that try to trick you into submitting your personal information or installing rogue apps, malicious browser plugins, or fake video player ‘updates’. The hoax is just a resurrected version of an earlier ‘R.I.P Mr Bean’ hoax that was distributed back in 2013. If this message comes your way, do not click on it.
According to a message that is circulating rapidly via social media, English actor Rowan Atkinson, famous for his alter ego ‘Mr Bean’, has died at 58 after committing suicide. The message, which features a photograph of Rowan Atkinson and the caption ‘R.I.P. 1995 – 2016 Will Miss You Mr Bean’ claims to be ‘breaking news’ from the BBC. It also claims to be a ‘FOX News update’.
Thankfully, however, the claims in the message are untrue. Rowan Atkinson is alive and well. There are no credible reports that support the claim that Rowan Atkinson has died or attempted suicide. Despite its claims, the message has no connection to either the BBC or Fox News. And, of course, Rowan Atkinson was not born in 1995 as claimed in the message. Nor is he 58 years old in 2016. In fact, he was born in 1955 and is currently 61 years old.
If you click on the message, you will be taken to a clickbait website. Exactly which website you are taken to may depend on where you encounter the message and other factors.
Some of the sites try to get you to provide your personal information to access various ‘offers’ or ‘prize draws’. However, if you do so, your information will be shared with marketing companies and used to bombard you with unwanted promotional material via email, SMS, surface mail and phone calls.
Others try to trick you into installing a rogue Facebook app that can use your account to blast out spam and scam messages in your name.
Still others try to trick you into downloading malicious browser plugins or video player updates that can steal information and hijack your browser.
This hoax is just a revamped version of an almost identical hoax that circulated in 2013. The 2013 version also claimed that Rowan Atkinson had committed suicide and tried to trick you into visiting survey scam sites or installing rogue apps.
Hoaxes that claim that a celebrity has committed suicide are especially heinous and reprehensible. Experts have found an increase in suicide rates after media reports about celebrity suicides. Thus, a disgraceful hoax like this one could have deadly repercussions. The people who create such hoaxes are beneath contempt.
Celebrity death hoaxes and scams are common. It is wise to verify any celebrity death messages that come you way via social media before you share them. Searching a news portal such as Google News should quickly reveal if a circulating story about the death of a famous person is true.
Last updated: July 18, 2016
First published: July 18, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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