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updated 3/14/2011 2:14:10 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:14:10

Contrary to a fast-spreading Internet rumor, actor Christian Slater is not dead.

Reports of Slater’s death began circulating around the Web today (Jan. 31), claiming that the star of “Heathers,” “True Romance” and “Pump Up the Volume” died over the weekend in a snowboarding accident in Zermatt, Switzerland, according to the security firm Sophos.

The 41-year-old actor quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, and worried fans posted links to what appeared to be a legitimate news story from Global Associated News confirming the incident.

The rumor is, of course, fake, and Slater is alive and well, the actor's publicist told the New York Daily News. So are Tom Hanks, Jeff Goldblum, Owen Wilson, Avril Lavigne and Adam Sandler, all of whom Global Associated News claimed to have recently died in similar accidents.

While following this particular story proved nothing more than a waste of time, security experts warn that scammers often use popular news stories to attract victims, hiding malicious software in a shortened URL on Twitter and Facebook, or rigging their corrupted pages so search engines list them first.

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