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Scammers Exploit Death of Actor Paul Walker

Circulating Facebook messages claim that users can follow a link to view footage of the car accident in which Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker was killed.

Paul Walker

© s_bukley

Brief Analysis
The messages are scams. They are designed to trick users into participating in survey scams and installing rogue Facebook applications or malicious browser extensions.  The promised video footage does not exist.

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[SHOCKING VIDEO] Watch Paul Walker Horrific Car Crash Caught On Camera!!!!!!!

Paul Walker Scam

Detailed Analysis

Sadly, popular actor Paul Walker, famous for his role as Brian O'Conner in the Fast & Furious movies, was killed in a horrific car accident on November 30, 2013.

As is usual when a celebrity dies, callous scammers quickly began to exploit the star's death.  Gory posts promising video footage of the fatal accident soon began showing up on Facebook feeds. The posts, designed to emulate news headlines, often feature graphic images supposedly showing the star's mutilated face. The posts invite users to click a link to view "Shocking Video" of the crash.

But, those who fall for the ruse and click the link will never get to see the promised video, which does not exist. Instead, they will be tricked into installing rogue Facebook applications that will access their profiles and blast out scam messages to all of their friends in their names. Some versions may try to trick users into installing malicious browser extensions.

And, after they have installed the rogue apps or extensions, victims will then be enticed into visiting a third-party website and participating in survey scams.  The fake pages claim that users must fill in one or more surveys before being allowed to view the accident footage.  But, the surveys will try to entice people into providing their personal information and subscribing to expensive SMS "services", ostensibly to go in the draw for various prizes.

Perhaps thankfully, no matter how many surveys they complete, participants will never get to see the - entirely fictional - accident video.

Scammers often use fake news of a targeted celebrity's death just as described above. In this case, they have used a real event to promote their scams rather than one they have simply made up.

Do not further the goals of the criminals who use such tactics by clicking links in their messages.

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Last updated: December 9, 2013
First published: December 9, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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