Fake celebrity deaths sprout out on social media every day and just won't die, will they? They're terrible reminders not to believe everything you read on the internet.
Brad Pitt, Sylvester Stallone, The Rock, Bob Barker, Oscar Pistorius, etc. - they all keep succumbing to various "tragedies" year in, year out.
You may have encountered the latest scam that's making the rounds and it involves the actor who plays one of the most beloved characters of all time. In its latest go-around though, this bit of fake news is more dangerous than ever.
Oh no, not again
No, Mr. Bean is not dead. And nope, he did not just die in a car crash while performing a daring stunt.
What it is though is yet another celebrity hoax that preys on the public's morbid fascination with celebrity deaths.
Why Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean seems to be a favorite target of these scams, we will never know. Poor Rowan, he apparently "dies" every year!
The latest fakery comes via a social media post that was doctored to make it seem like a legitimate Fox News video report.
"FOX BREAKING NEWS," the bogus report goes, "Mr. Bean(Rowan Atkinson) died at 62 After Crashing his Car on Attempt perfecting a Stunt."
Along with a photograph of Rowan Atkinson and his supposed merry years of existence (1955-2017), a big fat video Play button completes the ruse, promising perhaps a TV news report or even footage of the fatal crash.
But you probably know where this is leading to, right?
The report is a hoax. There's no actual Fox News report. There is no car crash, no daring stunt to perfect. It's all a lie.
Mr. Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean aka Mr. Johnny English is still definitely alive and kicking, doing whatever Mr. Rowan Atkinson does these days. In fact, he just reportedly finished shooting "Johnny English Strikes Again," the third installment of his widely popular spy spoof movie series.
The fake "video" does lead to something else altogether, though.
Mr. Bean did not die but your computer might
It turns out, if you do fall for it and click on the post, you will be redirected to a sham site that pretends to host the promised video.
However, as myth-busting site HoaxSlayer noted, if your curiosity gets the best of you and you attempt to hit play, you will be greeted by a message claiming that you must "complete a Security Check," prompting you to share the page on Facebook before you can proceed.
Sounds familiar, right? Yep, it's one of those old Facebook phishing scams - rinse and repeat.
But aside from just another attempt to steal your Facebook credentials, the post will also lead to a tech support scam page in some cases.
This deceptive page will then scare you into believing that your computer has been locked because of a virus infection. A "support number" is conveniently provided, of course, and if you do call, guess what happens next?
The scammers will talk their way into gaining remote access to your computer, stealing your credit card info along the way. Classic. Oh, and they'll also drop some malware in your system for good measure.
HoaxSlayer warns that other variations of this Dead Mr. Bean scam can also lead to fake survey phishing sites and booby-trapped webpages all designed to rip you off. Mr. Bean won't be too happy about this.
How to spot these celebrity death scams from a mile away
We all want to be among the first to break shocking celebrity news to our friends but pause before you post. To avoid falling victim to these dangerous fake reports (and more importantly, don't be that Facebook friend who keeps sharing these types of posts), here are a few tips:
- Beware of any celebrity death "breaking news" reports you encounter on Facebook, Twitter, via text messages or email. Don't click, don't share, don't post without confirming.
- Verify the news first by doing a click Google search and by checking legitimate news channels like Google News, MSN or Bing. Mainstream news will definitely explode and pick up the news immediately if someone famous passes on.
- If you do happen to click on a celebrity death scam post and it redirects you to a page that asks you to log in, share the post or install a video plugin, get out of there and close the page immediately!
If you see fake tech-support messages pop-up on your computer, don't call the phone number! However, people are having trouble getting the warning message off their gadget. Once the message appears it won't close.
It's actually a simple process to close one of these messages. Here is what you need to do:
- Open Task Manager (on Windows) or Activity Monitor (on a Mac).
- On Windows - right-click on the browser process you have open and click End. On Mac - double-click on the browser process then click Quit. If you have multiple tabs open, repeat this step for each tab.
Have a question about social media and celebrity death scams? Kim has your answer! Tap or click here to send Kim a question, she may use it and answer it on her radio show.
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Dark Web Alert! If someone died in your family, clever thieves are out in full force
When it comes to personal data, cybercriminals know no limits. And it turns out, hackers are not only preying on the living, they're targeting the dead, too! Click here and learn more about this emerging market of the deceased.