Justin Bieber has NOT died in a car crash. But Zaphod Beeblebrox might have done

Sigh.. it seems there's a sucker born every minute.

Messages are being spread by breathless fans of Justin Bieber that their beloved pint-size warbler has come to a sticky end in a car crash. The posts, which are being shared on Facebook, Twitter and (probably) other social networks, all claim to link to a breaking news story.

bieber-fake-story

Part of the message reads as follows:

Justin Bieber Dies In Car Crash

THIS STORY IS STILL DEVELOPING...

(Local Team News 9) Justin Bieber died in a single vehicle crash on Route 80 between Morristown and Roswell. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics responding to the vehicle accident and was identified by photo ID found on his body. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to have been a factor in this accident - July 18, 2013

Justin Bieber flipped vehicle Highway Safety Investigators have told reporters that Justin Bieber lost control while driving a friend's vehicle on Interstate 80 and rolled the vehicle several times killing him instantly.

The vehicle was believed to have been traveling at approximately 95 miles per hour in a 55mph zone at the time of the accident.

Witnesses have stated that Justin Bieber's car crossed the double lines several times prior to the accident and hit the center lane divider causing the vehicle to flip and roll.

If the details of this story sound familiar, then maybe it's because there was a story from Global Associated News back in January which claimed Pet Shop Boys star Neil Tennant had died in a car crash.

Oddly enough, that was also said to have happened on Route 80 between Morristown and Roswell. Clearly a dangerous stretch of raod for pop stars!

If you haven't guessed by now (shame on you..), the news stories are completely false. Justin Bieber does seem to have a propensity for car accidents, but he hasn't been killed, and the star has not had a car crash on that stretch of road.

Instead, Facebook and Twitter users are being duped by a practical joke website which allows you to put *any* person's name in the URL and it will create a fake death news story about them.

Justin Bieber fake death URL

So, for instance, if you change the URL to contain the name of HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy character Zaphod Beeblebrox rather than Justin Bieber, we discover that it is hoopy frood Zaphod who has perished.

Perhaps Zaphod drank one too many Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters and found his Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses have turned completely black as he spiralled off the hyperspace freeway?

zaphod-beeblebrox-death

It's a great way to drive traffic to a website, that's for sure. And presumably whoever owns the website is earning some cash from the advertisements that get displayed.

But it doesn't say anything particularly flattering about the people who share and click on such links without checking their facts. It's precisely this type of thoughtlessness and reckless online behaviour which social engineering hackers and fraudsters exploit on a daily basis.

You should always check your facts with a reputable online source, rather than believe the first website you stumble across and think twice about sharing untrustworthy "breaking news" (or even "braking news") with your social networking friends.

If you are on Facebook, and want to be kept updated with news about hoaxes and scams, security and privacy risks, and tips on how to protect yourself online, join the Graham Cluley Security News Facebook page.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Smashing Security podcast
Check out "Smashing Security", the new weekly audio podcast, with Graham Cluley, Carole Theriault, and special guests from the world of information security.

"Three people having fun in an industry often focused on bad news" • "It's brilliant!" • "The Top Gear of computer security"

Latest episode:

, , , , , ,

16 Responses

  1. wally

    July 19, 2013 at 1:38 am #

    Truly saddened to hear about Zaphod.

  2. ken stetson

    July 20, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I almost thought that I had an amazing birthday present

  3. Carson

    July 22, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    I must have seen this car crash foto at least a dozen times by now.

    BTW, i find it quite disturbing that people consider deaths as a birthday present, even if its the death of Hollywoods new incompetent doormat of a popstar.

  4. fak3r

    July 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Devastated to hear the news of Zaphod Beeblebrox, he left a legacy that won't soon be forgotten, my thoughts are with his family at this time.

  5. ChuckT3st4

    July 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    In the bottom, it says it's fake

    • Graham Cluley in reply to ChuckT3st4.

      July 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      In a tiny font, way way far below.

      Presumably that's there just in case anyone fancies sueing them.

  6. mspets4ever

    August 24, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    oh thank god hes not dead!

    • Finn Thomas in reply to mspets4ever.

      August 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

      Oh I wish he did !!

    • matt in reply to mspets4ever.

      August 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      God I almost broke my vow to never drink again in celebration

  7. semperfi

    September 8, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    So sad that people would consider drinking in celebration or celebration of ANY kind due to a death of ANYONE, whether famous or not. You should be ashamed to be called a HUMAN BEING.
    Youre absolutely pathetic and OBVIOUSLY jealous of Justin's success. he deserves respect as he is a hard worker and does a lot for the education of children. Although im NOT a fan of his talents, he's a respected young man and deserves some civility. You're all pathetic excuses for human beings.

    • Cody in reply to semperfi.

      September 16, 2013 at 12:43 am #

      Well I'm not sure it is that simple. While celebrating the supposed death of someone is certainly not that commendable I'm not sure it is condemnable, either (this is besides the fact it was not a real death which makes it even less of an issue; are you sure they are not joking? Maybe they don't like him but that does not mean they truly – deep down – wish him dead nor does it mean anything but they are having fun exactly because it did not happen). Besides that, you're posting on a security related website so surely you are aware of the ancient troll (of course, maybe that's what I'm responding to; i.e., you never can know for 100% sure)?

      As for me I most certainly am NOT jealous of him or his success (and his genre is one of the last I would listen to let alone want to sing) and I also cannot stand him (never mind I hated being a teenager myself… no, loathed it to no end – he is a teenager, right ? I think he is but maybe he finally turned 20 ?). I most certainly laughed at the comments. But remember: laughter is therapy (and then there is inappropriate affect which is another issue entirely). There's different kinds of humour too. I can assure you that I have made jokes (_and_ laughed hysterically at them with some friends) that are 500% worse than this if not much more so (I'm not exaggerating by any means – they were very very bad and about disasters). But that doesn't make me a bad person or make it true that I wished what I was laughing about actually happened (exactly the opposite); it makes me someone with a twisted sense of humour who can see the light in every thing (and truthfully that is a very healthy ability to have) as well as someone who knows there is more to every story out there than a single person may recognise.

      If you want to go on about civility then here's something to consider (Bieber could do well to realise as a celebrity he should be more responsible): what he wrote in Anne Frank's guestbook at the Anne Frank Museum was most certainly not decent or ethical. Okay he's young but the fact is if he's old enough to be touring the world and having a huge fan base then he should be old enough to have the maturity and decency to not do that type of thing. Doesn't mean he _meant_ (intent is important too) harm but it still was not good. Put another way: you reap what you sow.

      Unfortunately psychology is not simply 'yes' or 'no' or 'good' or 'bad' – if it was that easy there would be a lot more happiness in the world.

      • Bob Fett in reply to Cody.

        October 6, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

        Wow

    • Joe Anderson in reply to semperfi.

      October 10, 2013 at 6:25 am #

      Respect is something that is earned. He has done NOTHING to earn mine. He is nothing more than a narcissist. Anyone who would Relieve themselves in the kitchen of someone's restaurant, spit on their own fans, or put self-promoting crap in the Anne Frank’s guest book is not worthy of respect.

  8. William

    October 10, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    Despite his popularity he is still a worthless degenerate little SOB. Anyone who would urinate in a mop bucket of a restaurant and say, “they should be honored to clean it up.” Or Spit on their own fans is not worthy of respect nor are they worth the title of being human.

  9. anju

    October 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    THANK GOD !!!!!!!!!!!!! he is safe i was dying 4 him here !!!!!!!!!!! and justin come back with your rocking performens

  10. Albert Tam

    November 22, 2013 at 4:06 am #

    At the bottom, the disclaimer reads:

    FAKE… THIS STORY IS 100% FAKE! this is an entertainment website, and this is a totally fake article based on zero truth and is a complete work of fiction for entertainment purposes! this story was dynamically generated using a generic 'template' and is not factual. Any reference to specific individuals has been 100% fabricated by web site visitors who have created fake stories by entering a name into a blank 'non-specific' template for the purpose of entertainment. For sub-domain info, name removal requests and additional use restrictions: FakeAWish.com
    Copyright © 2011 FakeAWish.com All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply