NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Just a few hours after the singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her home in London on Saturday, scammers launched a campaign to capitalize on her death.
Several links to videos popped up on Facebook over the weekend purportedly showing Winehouse in the moments before her death, but when users clicked on the link, they were instead directed to fill out an online survey, according to the software security company Sophos. At the same time, the link leads to a pop-up message that dupes the user into sharing the link to the faux video with his or her contacts on the social networking site.
Sophos unearthed five such videos with tabloid-style titles like, “Leaked Video!! Amy Winehouse On Crack hours before death” and “SHOCKING – Amy Winehouse’s Final Minutes,” each accompanied by a thumbnail photo of Winehouse and brief description.
According to the computer security firm, the goal of these scams is as insignificant as it is offensive. The scammers earn a small commission (usually a few pennies) from companies for each survey filled out, so they try to trick as many consumers as possible into doing so by offering up irresistible celebrity videos as bait.
Winehouse is certainly not the first celebrity to be used to this end. Earlier this month, a similar scam popped up involving a fake video of Casey Anthony confessing to the murder of her daughter. More recently, Sophos found another scam that promised to show a video of the devastating bomb blasts that killed dozens in Norway.
As a general rule, if you see a link to a story that looks suspicious, try doing a quick search for it on Google first. If you can’t find any other reputable sites reporting on the video, chances are it’s a fake.