Fans have been mourning the death of “Mr. Bean” star Rowan Atkinson after a report circulated on the Internet claiming the British comedian committed suicide at age 61.
One key problem: Atkinson is very much alive, and the story is a complete fake that nonetheless caused unsuspecting fans to click on a link to see the star’s alleged suicide video, but which actually unleashes a computer virus that sends the same fake story to all the user’s Facebook friends, reports the website Online Threat Alerts.
The fake story has been circulating on Facebook, with what appears to be a CNN news report (it’s not) with an obituary photo accompanied by the following copy: “English Actor Comedian Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) died at 58 after committing suicide. The comedian committed suicide right after the producer remove him on Johnny English 3. Rowan Atkinson(Mr Bean) recorded a suicide video with a message to his producer and fans around the world. (watch more)”
Clicking the link, however, will ask you to download a plug-in (which you should not do) supposedly required to watch the video; downloading the plug-in actually installs malicious software that will re-send the same link to all the user’s Facebook friends, which is what’s caused the faux report to go viral.
Atkinson is the latest star to be the victim of a sick death hoax, with such celebs as Jack Black, Robert Redford, Macaulay Culkin, Gene Hackman all falsely reported to have passed away.