The divorce between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has been used by the bad guys for a "celebrity death hoax" which unfortunately is high-grade click bait.
It's the most recent one to hit social media and your employee's inbox, and will not be the last. Snopes, a debunking site that usually gets it right, confirmed that this bogus news has been around since the 21st of September.
Snopes showed Facebook screenshots coming from known news channels like Fox and NBC. There are several variants, some claiming it was a hanging, others that he died in a shooting range suicide or a substance overdose. Here is some of the deceptive copy:
"Brad Pitt, 52, a multi-awarded 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."
We are letting you know so that you can warn your employees, friends and family and they won't fall for nasty social engineering attacks like this. It requires constant reminders and vigilance to keep people on their toes.
Here is something you can copy/paste and feel free to edit - I suggest you do this today.
"[ALERT] A new celebrity death scam reared its ugly head. The bad guys claim that Brad Pitt has committed suicide because of the recent Angelina Jolie divorce. The scam is currently on Facebook but you can expect emails with links for "more details" and/or attachments that claim it is a video of his last moments. There are several versions that claim he hanged himself, died in a shooting range or from a substance overdose.
You might even get text messages to your smartphone that try to trick you into going to a site with the exclusive pictures of his death. If you see any social media posts or get emails with links or attachments, do not click on anything, do not open attachments or reply, and if it is social media, do not touch and do not share or forward. These bad guys will use anything to shock and trick you into clicking. Do not fall for it and Think Before You Click!
Here is a safe (and free) way for employees to report phishing emails.
Here is a great way to create a better security culture in your organization. If you are looking for a safe method for your employees to report suspicious email to your organization's Incident Response team ( which might be you ), download KnowBe4's complimentary Phish Alert Outlook add-in which gives your user a one-click option to send you any suspicious email including full headers. Did I say there are no costs for this? You don't even have to be a KnowBe4 customer, and we will soon have a versions for Gmail and Notes.
PS: Don't like to click on redirected buttons? Cut & Paste this link in your browser: