Scam Alert: Celebrity Hoax Articles Can Steal Online Info

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Intel Security, which informs the public about Internet scams, released its annual list of the “most dangerous celebrities online.”

There’s no denying that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce has hijacked entertainment news headlines across the globe. And, if you’ve been following the developments of their split, you may have come across one particular story claiming Pitt, 52, had committed suicide over the demise of his relationship.

Pitt is, thankfully, alive and well. But your phone or computer, on the other hand, may soon be dead.

Facebook sent out a warning to users that a scam article—purporting the Oscar-nominated actor had died—was connected to malware that allows hackers to access all your online data. The article has managed to convince hundreds of users by posing as a story from FOX News.

Once users clicked on the article, they were taken to a login page for a fake app that requested their Facebook usernames and passwords. Hackers then could access all your personal online data by filtering through other passwords you’ve used.

And talk about perfect timing. Intel Security recently announced its annual list of the “most dangerous celebrities online.” This year, comedian Amy Schumer tops the list with a 16 per cent chance of connecting with a website that carries malware (an umbrella term used to describe intrusive software, like viruses or spywear).

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“Consumers today remain fascinated with celebrity culture and go online to find the latest pop culture news,” Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security, said in a statement on the company’s website. “With this craving for real-time information, many search and click without considering potential security risks. Cybercriminals know this and take advantage of this behavior by attempting to lead them to unsafe sites loaded with malware.”

Intel’s list of the top 10 most dangerous celebs to search for online:

Amy Schumer—16.11 per cent risk
Justin Bieber—15 per cent
Carson Daly—13.44 per cent
(tie) Will Smith—13.44 per cent
Rihanna—13.33 per cent
Miley Cyrus—12.67 per cent
Chris Hardwick—12.56 per cent
Daniel Tosh—11.56 per cent
Selena Gomez—11.11 per cent
(tie) Kesha—11.11 per cent

While a lot of these names may of little or no interest to you, your kids and grandkids are likely to be enticed by the attention-grabbing headlines, so spread the word!

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Intel Security included this additional online safety tip: Protect your personal information. Think twice before entering personal information like your credit card, email or home address. Online phishing scams can lead to identity theft.