A disturbing death hoax saying singer “Rihanna [was] found dead” is nothing more than a Facebook scam. The singer hasn’t died, as evidenced by recent posts to her Instagram account.
“R.I.P – SINGER RIHANNA FOUND DEAD AFTER BEING RAPED! 2014 [LINK],” the fake post reads. “OMG SHE WAS SO INNOCENT. BAD GUYS RAPED HER. R.I.P.”
The post includes a picture of her face with a YouTube-style play button, suggesting there’s more information, but it just links to a site that looks somewhat like YouTube after several redirects. It also asks the Facebook user to share the post to spread the spam even further.
It then asks for an “age verification” and prompts users to take online surveys. The surveys ask for personal information, which generate revenue for the scammers, and it puts one’s information at risk.
The thumbnail image used in the scam was a photo taken of Rihanna after she was assaulted by singer Chris Brown in 2009.
“For instance, many such scams have tricked users into handing over their mobile phone numbers, which are then signed up for premium rate services,” says Graham Cluley, a security expert. “Victims are also typically duped into sharing the link to the scam to their Facebook friends and family, before realizing that there is no truth to the report.”
Some versions of the scam could also attempt to fool users into installing a rogue Facebook app or malicious browser plugins.
According to Hoax-Slayer, there’s been more than a few Rihanna death hoaxes circulated online over the years.
“It is important that you check with a reputable news source before forwarding any message that claims that a celebrity has died. If true, such deaths are always extensively reported by the mainstream media. And, if such a death message comes your way, do not follow any links in the message, at least until you have confirmed that the death claims are true,” the website advises.