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Consumers warned over celebrity-based online scams

28 September 2017 - 09:39 by Simon Crisp

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Security researchers at McAfee have highlighted the tactics that cybercriminals deploy to dupe innocent web users, with a trend for hijacking the names of popular celebrities for malicious purposes pinpointed.

BBC News reports that it is actually possible to rank celebrities based on the likelihood that searching for their names on Google and other engines will lead fans to phishing sites set up to steal their private information or infect their computers with viruses.

At the top of this list is pop star, Craig David, whose recent resurgence in popularity is being exploited by scammers. Other famous names that are among the most dangerous to search for include Emeli Sande and Liam Payne.

Report spokesperson, Nick Viney, said that internet users needed to be made aware of the dangers associated with visiting sites and clicking links which look suspicious and make promises which are too good to be true.

Many cybercriminal gangs use tricks like offering discounted or free access to products and services, when in reality they simply want to convince visitors to part ways with private data which can then be used against them.

In particular, sites offering ‘free’ downloads of tracks from popular artists like Ed Sheeran and Adele, as well as the aforementioned celebrities, are seen as being the most likely to be malicious in nature.

Consumers are advised to carry out safe shopping online with reputable retailers and pay for the music they want to listen to, rather than trying to get access to it free of charge from sites which may contain malware.

As well as relying on shopping online, there are many legitimate ways to access music and other media content which are both legal and help to provide the artists themselves with payment for their work. Spotify and YouTube are the two biggest examples, but there are many more from which to choose if security is a concern.