Facebook Death Hoax Revealed as Phishing Scam

Sep 28, 2016 · 2 min read

Facebook is in the news this Wednesday for allowing content to be shared that could just lead to you being phished. Posts on the site have been circulating about the death of Brad Pitt with a link to his obituary provided.

Just days after his separation from Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt has been the subject of multiple social-media death hoaxes.

A currently unknown third party app generated the stories and posted them as breaking news, posing as reputable news sources. Facebook has teams dedicated to identifying these fraudulent accounts and disabling them before events like these occur.

Various spokespeople from Facebook have made it clear that Facebook has no intention of letting this kind of content become visible on their site. A spokesperson who is in touch with CNN noted:

“This malware isn’t new & is known to come from malicious browser extensions … For several years, Facebook has notified people when we detect malware on their computer & we help them clean it up.”

Upon clicking the link, the target user is prompted to enter information into a fake Facebook login page. Of course, this can give the potential hacker access to all information that you have privately stored on your Facebook account. The hacker can also pose as you and prompt Facebook friends to interact with them in certain ways, such as transferring them money.

Facebook has confirmed that this specific post has been removed.

Brad Pitt is only the most recent celebrity to face this sort of death hoax. Other celebrities have also faced the same scrutiny. It is best for you to avoid any and all articles on Facebook that involve ‘click-baity’ titles and questionable information. The smartest choice to ensure information is honest is to Google the information and see if other new sources are also covering the story.

If you suspect a post or email to be suspicious, follow PhishTrain’s five-step process:

  • Be skeptical of all emails and be sure to examine them closely before opening any attachments.
  • Be extra careful with messages that ask you for personal information- such as passwords.
  • Take caution in downloading smartphone or desktop apps and granting these apps special permissions.
  • Keep all browsers on your device updated as companies implement anti-phishing and security software.
  • If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a message, contact the message’s source directly.

-Team PhishTrain


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