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updated 3/25/2011 12:19:22 PM ET 2011-03-25T16:19:22

As the nation mourns Elizabeth Taylor’s death, online criminals are using the public fascination with the Hollywood legend to help spread a new spam campaign.

Posts that have been spreading on Twitter include a link to download the screen star’s movies, researchers at the security firm Kaspersky Lab reported. However, the shortened URL, from bit.ly, is corrupted and directs eager fans to a commonly found pay-per-click fraud campaign.

People from 48 different countries have been lured in by the scam, Kaspersky analyst Dmitry Bestuzhev reported. The majority of victims (55 percent) have been in the United States.

As with any topic that dominates the news – especially celebrity stories and natural disasters like the tsunami in Japan -- Liz Taylor’s death provided online scammers with a built-in audience.

“Cybercriminals don’t care about morals and ethics,” Bestuzhev wrote on the Kaspersky’s Securelist blog. “Money is money for them, and topics like celebrity deaths, natural disaster and other critical situations have been used without regret.”

To avoid falling victim to this scam, do not click on shortened URLs on Twitter, even ones that  come from friends.

 

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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