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Celine Dion Death Hoax Points To Rogue App

Circulating messages designed to look like news headlines or "breaking news" articles claim singer Celine Dion has died and invite users to click a link to watch an exclusive news video about her demise.

Scam Computer Key

© Artur Marciniec

Brief Analysis
Celine Dion is alive and well. The links lead to a rogue Facebook application that, once installed, will send out the false death reports to all of your Facebook friends and may try to trick you into participating in survey scams or downloading malicious software. If you receive this message, do not click on any links that it contains.

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Celine Dion Death Hoax

Hollywood Breaking News – R.I.P Celine Dion At about 11 a.m. ET on Sunday (October 20, 2013), Celine Dion died in a plane crash. The culprit for the story is Global Associated, aka Mediafetcher. “Celine Dion presumed dead in private plane crash”, Global claims that Celine died today at “Denver Peak-Regional Airport”. a small private aircraft in distress ceased radio contact with the control tower and fell below radar frequency after reporting engine trouble and smoke in the cockpit. Actress, Celine Dion was believed to have been a passenger on the flight. Raw footage of her accident has been recorded and leaked to fox news but cannot be broadcasted over the air so it was uploaded via the internet for the public to view. Due to the graphic content of this video, please be advised 18+ only. Watch Full Exclusive Video–>

Detailed Analysis

According to messages circulating on Facebook, singer Celine Dion has died. The messages, which are designed to look like news headlines and include logos from real news sources such as CNN, invite users to click a link to view an "exclusive video" about the sad event.

However, the claims in the messages are untrue. Celine Dion is alive and well.

Links in the messages go to a page that asks users to install a Facebook application, ostensibly to allow them to view the video.  However, there is no video and the app is a rogue. If you comply, and give the app permission to access your account, it will spam out the same fake death messages to all of your friends.  It may also try to trick you into downloading further malicious software or participating in survey scams.

Some versions consist of a longer "Hollywood Breaking News" article that claims that Celine died in a plane crash. The message claims that footage of the crash was recorded and leaked to Fox News. Again, a link in the message points to a rogue app. The longer message takes the text of an earlier Celine Dion death hoax and repurposes it as a rogue app scam.

This scam is very similar to another rogue app campaign that falsely claimed that actor Will Smith had died.

Celebrity death hoaxes have been a common visitor to social media feeds for years. However, increasingly, such fake death reports are being used to trick users into installing malicious applications and browser extensions. 

If you see a report about the death of a celebrity, always verify it via a reputable news source before sharing it with others. The death of a celebrity is always widely reported, so a search of a news source such as Google News should quickly reveal if claims of a celebrity's death are true.

And, if you receive a report about the demise of a well-known person, do not click on any links it contains until you have verified the claims.  

If you have already installed a rogue app, you can uninstall it by following the instructions on Facebook's help page on the topic.

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Last updated: October 24, 2013
First published: October 24, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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