Beware of “Gaga Found Dead” Facebook Scam

Scammers will always attempt to distribute phishing emails and plant fake websites loaded with malware to accompany celebrity deaths or newsworthy events. For example, March of this year saw scam emails asking for donations for the Salvation Army tsunami relief fund.

This scam, reported here on the Sophos security blog attempts to spread a dramatic false headline across Facebook.

How the scam works

The scammers post a link to Facebook;

BREAKING: Lady Gaga Found Dead in Hotel Room

Which appears to link to a story on the BBC News website. In fact, clicking on the link will take you to a page that is only posing as a BBC page, which tempts you to click on a video thumbnail. Clicking on the thumbnail will submit a Facebook “Like” and display the post on your Facebook page.

The aim of these scams is to drive traffic to these sites as they earn commissions for each survey completed, every product purchased and/or every account compromised.

Our Advice:

  • If you see this scam or anything similar on Facebook, please report it to Facebook security (with the new changes that Facebook are currently rolling out to users, you will be able to report each individual post as ‘spam’ or ‘scam’).
  • If you have been affected by a scam like this you should remove the message and ‘Like’ from your Facebook page and warn your friends not to click on any offending links.
  • Only get your news from online sources that you trust; do not be tempted click on links to news stories in emails, and do not use search engines to look for headlines; scammers often plant fake sites at the top of Google’s rankings to match trending topics.

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