Rowan Atkinson is the subject of a death hoax that has been linked to a computer virus and data theft.
The actor, who is most famous for his role as Mr. Bean, has not died, despite posts on social media claiming otherwise.
In an attempt to make the posts look legitimate, they feature the headline “FOX BREAKING NEWS” and a play button in the centre of an image, making it look like a video clip and encouraging viewers to click on it. However, when the play button is clicked, it sends you to a fake ‘Security Error’ page that tells you your computer is blocked and must be unblocked by calling a customer support number.
The number connects users to scammers who, reports say, will then try and obtain personal data from you, including name, address and bank details.
Hoax Slayer, a website dedicated to uncovering internet scams, added some users were redirected to a survey website, which asks for personal details in return for the chance to win a prize. “The scammers may also try to trick you into downloading software that will allow them to take control of your computer, steal your files, and install malware,” a Hoax Slayer spokesperson said.
Atkinson has been the subject of death hoaxes in the past, with a 2016 viral post suggesting he had died by suicide after “battling severe depression” and struggling “with alcohol and drugs.”
The hoax dated back to 2013, while he was also the victim of a previous death hoax in 2012 that claimed he had died in a car accident.