'Look who died' scam is making the rounds on Facebook — don’t fall for this

Dark-haired woman looking at smartphone screen in shock.
(Image credit: fizkes/Shutterstock)

Death is a part of life, but the news that someone you know may have died is now being used against you. Scammers have been caught using it as a phishing lure on Facebook to trick users — and get them to hand over their accounts.

According to the cybersecurity company DataProt, the ‘Look who died’ scam is currently making the rounds on Facebook. Like other phishing scams, this one uses a sense of urgency to pique the curiosity of unsuspecting users on the social media platform.

This phishing scam begins with a Facebook message from one of your friends, with the subject line “Look who died.” It then provides a link to a news article supposedly about someone you know. As you may have guessed, the article is fake, and it takes you to a phishing site.

Victims are prompted to enter their Facebook username and password to read the article. While giving up this information freely is an easy way to have your Facebook hacked, the cybercriminals behind this scam could also use it to install malware on your devices.

Another thing worth noting about this scam is that once the hackers have one person’s credentials, they then use them to sign in and lock them out of their accounts. With a brand new account in hand, they then forward the message to the victim’s friends, hoping to get even more people to fall for this scam.

How to stay safe from phishing on social media

Just like when checking emails in your inbox, you need to be careful when opening and responding to messages on Facebook and other social media sites.

Even if a message appears to come from a friend (as it does in this case), you still want to avoid clicking on any links. At the same time, you want to be mindful regarding the last time this person messaged you. If you message each other frequently, everything may be above board but if this is someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, there’s no telling whether or not their account has been compromised. Instead of your friend or family member, you could be talking to a hacker.

To stay safe from malware and other viruses spread through phishing attacks, you want to make sure you have the best antivirus software installed on your PC, the best Mac antivirus software on your Mac and one of the best Android antivirus apps on your Android smartphone. This way, if you do accidentally download malware, your data and devices will be protected. If you’re really worried about being hacked though, investing in one of the best identity theft protection services can help you recover from identity theft and get your life back.

From dead relatives and friends to unpaid invoices and QR codes, scammers have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves to gain access to your accounts and the data they contain. This is why you need to remain vigilant on social media and when responding to messages in general. Clicking on one link and letting your emotions get the best of you is all it can take to fall victim to a phishing scam like this one.

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Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home. 

  • megrgg
    My husband, unfortunately, fell for this and clicked the link. He complained about it not working, then I saw an email from FB notifying him of unusual activity from a different state and using a different make of phone! That paid off, and I quickly changed his login info, made sure he was set up for two factor authentication (my bad not done before) but it was not before friends got sent the link. It all happened so fast. Sent a FB post out to friends right away. Hope it stopped anyone from clicking through. Thanks for this review Tom's Guide, and for mentioning the QR code scam. I learned a new one with that scam also.