A fun quiz pops up on your Facebook feed or another social media platform. A few questions are answered to prove how well you know a friend. Or a short personality test is offered to match with a character from a favorite TV show.
These quizzes appear to be meaningless, but the intent behind them is to collect information. For example, questions like: “What was the first car you owned?” “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What is the name of the street you grew up on?” These are common security questions for insurance, banking and credit card accounts. Sharing this information can lead to accounts being hacked, and personal and financial information being stolen.
Not all social media quizzes are data collection scams; however, BBB cautions users to be careful about what they share online and to check the privacy settings on the account. Social media data and quiz answers can be used to steal identity or enable a scammer to impersonate you to your friends and family.
Tips to avoid social media scams:
- Be skeptical: Before answering a quiz, figure out who created it. Is it a brand you trust? Just because something appears to be fun and innocent, doesn’t mean there isn’t an inherent risk.
- Adjust privacy settings: Review the social media account’s privacy settings and be strict about any information that is shared – and be mindful of who you are sharing it with.
- Remove personal details from your profile: Don’t share information like a phone number or home address on social media accounts.
- Don’t give answers to common security questions: Be cautious if the questions in a quiz ask for things like your mother’s maiden name, the street you grew up on, previously owned vehicles, favorite foods, or the name of your high school.
- Monitor friend requests. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Also, be wary of a second friend request from someone you are already connected with; the second profile may be an imposter trying to access your data and your Friends list.
For more information:
See BBB’s article on sharing yearbook photos on social media.
If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams.
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