[ALERT] Scam of the Week: George Michael Dies at 53. Watch out for Phishing Attacks

Yesterday, news broke that George Michael was found dead on Sunday at his home in Goring in Oxfordshire, England. He was 53. A police statement said: “Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2 p.m. Christmas Day. Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious.”

Mr. Michael’s manager, Michael Lippman, told The Hollywood Reporter that Mr. Michael had died of heart failure “in bed, lying peacefully.”

This is a celebrity death similar to Prince that the bad guys are going to exploit in a variety of ways. You have to warn your users right away that a series of scams are underway using the George Michael death as social engineering trick.

Earlier celebrity death scams show there will be a high click rate on scams that claim to show Michael’s last words on video. Whatever ruse is being used, your users will wind up with either infected workstations at the house or in the office, giving out personal information or unleashing ransomware on the network. Give them a heads-up that especially now they need to Think Before They Click.

I would send your employees, friends and family something like the following. You’re welcome to copy/paste/edit.

“Yesterday, news broke that pop star George Michael was found dead in his home in Oxfordshire, England. He was 53. Internet scum are going to exploit this celebrity death in a number of ways, so be careful with anything related to George Michael’s death: emails, attachments, any social media (especially Facebook), texts on your phone, anything. There will be a number of scams related to this, so Think Before You Click!

For KnowBe4 customers, as you read this, there will be a new template “George Michael Dies at 53” in the Current Events campaign that I suggest you send to everyone more or less immediately.

If you are not a KnowBe4 customer yet, at times like this, it is very good to know what percentage of your users are vulnerable to emotional manipulations like this. We recommend you do your complimentary Phishing Security Test and find out what your phish-prone percentage of your users is.


Let’s stay safe out there.

Joseph Forbes (691)

Information Technology Consultant. For SMB, SOHO, and Online business. From Computers to Telecommunications this guy has been into it since hippies made it hip. Drone Pilot and Tech Aficionado I get to travel the State of Texas to help businesses succeed.