Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky said scammers are deceiving unsuspecting users by distributing phishing scams that prey on the excitement surrounding the movie releases, all with the sole intention of tricking individuals and unlawfully acquiring their hard-earned money and sensitive personal data.
Barbie and Oppenheimer rapidly became two of the most highly anticipated movies of the year.
Unfortunately, as is often the case with such popular topics, scammers wasted no time in exploiting Barbie’s and Oppenheimer’s immense popularity for their own sinister motives.
One of the fraudulent pages discovered lures users with special offers on Barbie dolls coinciding with the movie launch. Besides the regular dolls, users are being enticed to buy limited-edition movie-related dolls, including one of the lead actress Margot Robbie for around 12 pounds sterling.
They can add a helicopter for £56, making the total cost of the purchase £60 (with an “exclusive” discount). However, once users decide what to buy, they are redirected to a purchase form that requires personal identification details such as name, address, phone number, and banking information.
Unsuspecting users unknowingly send their money and private data directly to fraudsters. Besides the financial risks, this scam also poses serious privacy concerns, as the stolen data could potentially be sold on the Dark Web market.
The scammers did not miss out on another popular release, Oppenheimer, which was scheduled for the same day.
They tricked people by offering to stream the movie for free, but their real intention was to steal users’ banking information and money. In such scenarios, scammers often employ a tactic in which they request a nominal fee of one dollar or euro for registration.
However, this seemingly harmless payment requirement could raise a red flag. To proceed with the registration, they require that a bank card be linked, therefore enabling unauthorized and difficult-to-cancel debits from users’ accounts.
“Premieres and exciting events bring a wave of anticipation, but amidst the thrill, it’s crucial for users to remain alert and adhere to basic online safety rules. While the experience is exhilarating, we must not overlook the risks. By maintaining a vigilant mindset and practicing safe online habits, we can fully enjoy the Barbie and Oppenheimer experience while safeguarding ourselves from cyber threats lurking in the digital world,” Olga Svistunova, security expert at Kaspersky, said.