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April 08, 2021

Celebrity names increasingly powerful lures for scammers: report

Just like the music charts, celebrity names pop in and out of favour. Scammers know this, which is why they use the top names as lures for malware scams and identity theft.

Famous names are used for a whole host of tricks, from people actually posing as celebrities to bogus endorsements of products and events, says Scambusters.  

One of the most prevasive stunts is to use the name of a well-known figure in emails or messages on social media like Facebook and Twitter to lure victims into clicking an attachment or a link that downloads malware onto their PCs.

However, it turns out that not all celebs are equal when it comes to the popularity of their names as bait for click tricking. And, like celebrity status itself, the names change over time.

PC security company McAfee publishes an annual list of the names regarded as most likely to be used in a bogus way.

Emma Watson has taken over the #1 spot from Heidi Klum as the most troublesome name over the past year, which marks the first time that the entire Top 10 list is comprised of only women

Here's the firm's list of the top 10 names:

1. Emma Watson
2. Jessica Biel
3. Eva Mendes
4. Selena Gomez
5. Halle Berry
6. Megan Fox
7. Shakira
8. Cameron Diaz
9. Salma Hayek
10. Sofia Vergara

This year, searching for a celebrity name with “free downloads” and “nude pictures” as part of the search term resulted in the highest result of risky sites, McAfee reports.

Don't say someone didn't warn you.

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...