In early December 2022, we received mail from readers that asked if motion picture actor and director Clint Eastwood was dead. The rumor stemmed from numerous Facebook posts that said, "05 Minutes Ago. RIP Clint Eastwood. Sad News For Clint Eastwood Family. Goodbye Clint Eastwood."
However, we found no credible reporting that said Eastwood was dead, nor did we find any information that indicated he was sick, injured, or hospitalized. Death hoax purveyors were using his image and likeness as a way of luring users to try to infect their devices with malware.
Once users clicked the links in the posts, they were led to misleading articles that showed dangerous pop-up alerts. Many of those pop-ups asked users to install Adobe Flash Player, even though the product was discontinued in 2020. Other pop-ups mentioned updating Google Chrome or installing the Opera GX web browser.
One of the pop-up notices read, "A security update to Adobe Flash Player was recently released." That was false. Another one didn't read quite right and said, "Your computer should have crash shut down your Chrome browser." We're not quite sure what this alert was supposed to mean.
We scanned these "install" and "download" pop-up links with IP Quality Score's nifty malicious URL scanner. The tool is quick, free, and easy, and is available for anyone to use. The scan's results said that the links were "very risky," scoring them at a level of 85 out of 100. (The higher the score, the more dangerous the link is believed to be.)
In addition to Facebook, we also found similar death hoax verbiage on YouTube.
We previously reported similar stories for death hoaxes involving film actors Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts, country music singer Alan Jackson, and reality TV star Amy Roloff. Eastwood's death hoax was created by the same people who promoted the similar hoaxes for all of these celebrities.