Brad Pitt is not dead, but your computer might be in trouble if you fell for the latest viral story making the rounds on Facebook.
The link has been spreading claiming that Pitt took his life, and to the untrained eye it may look like a legitimate news story. The link going around made it appear as if the story is under the banner of Fox News, though users who click through don’t find themselves on the news website but instead to a screen where they asked to share some personal information.
As Snopes noted, users are forced to cough up some very sensitive information in return for the following crudely written story claiming that Brad Pitt was dead after a shooting range suicide.
“Brad Pitt, 52, a multiawarded American actor and husband of Angelina Jolie, 41, shot himself in the head at a shooting range on Sunday. He was under significant stress because the couple ‘were going through a divorce and he had a history of depression’, sources have said.”
But to make it to that short story, users have to expose themselves to a potential hacking attempt. Many users seem to have caught on to the Brad Pitt death hoax, warning others about it online.
Hollywood Life noted that Facebook has also warned against clicking on the story claiming that Brad Pitt is dead.
Facebook has put out a warning to users to NOT click on the fake report, because if you click into it and give the requested info, the hackers then get your passwords…and that means total control of your account! How scary. If any of his fans have fallen prey to the sick hoax, FB says to immediately change your password and run its malware software scanner.
The story claiming Brad Pitt committed suicide appears to be a clear attempt to capitalize off the attention the actor’s divorce has brought. There has been rampant speculation about the causes of the divorce and the custody battle that could be ahead, which led many fans to fall victim to the death rumors.
This is actually the second go-round for the Brad Pitt death hoax in just the last week. The story originally started making the rounds in the hours after Pitt and Angelina Jolie first announced their divorce. It got a bit of attention then, but it seems to have really gone viral now that one week has passed.
The story claiming Brad Pitt is dead actually follows a somewhat common theme among celebrity death hoaxes. There have been dozens of other fake stories in the past few years claiming that celebrities, athletes, and politicians have died, and each comes with a different motivation. Some appear to be a ruse aimed at getting clicks to parody news sites, while others seem to be simply for the amusement of people starting the rumors.
But many of these death hoaxes — including a large number of recent ones — have actually been scams aimed at getting personal information from users. That is the case with the story claiming Brad Pitt died, and also the motivation behind a string of stories this summer claiming that actor Jaden Smith was dead.
The U.K.’s Mirror noted that Jaden has actually fallen victim to this hoax a number of times.
“The hoax – which involves getting permission to post on the user’s page on the social media site – has been spread by people noticing it on their newsfeed as more and more people click on the fake link.
“The spam apps lured many users in, but Jaden – who is yet to respond to the rumors – is alive and well four years after a similarly cruel prank.”
So if you see a link to a story claiming Brad Pitt is dead, just remember to keep scrolling and avoid the temptation to click.
[Featured Image by DP/STAR MAX/IPx/AP Images]