Social media quizzes can help scammers
With Virginia under orders to stay at home, many people are turning to social media for a fun distraction. Taking a Facebook quiz may seem like a harmless way to pass the time, but it could also give scammers your personal information. Better Business Bureau Serving Western Virginia (BBB) warns social users to think twice before sharing personal information when filling out these online questionnaires.
How the Scam Works
You see a fun quiz on Facebook or another social media platform and you think, “What’s the harm?” You answer a few questions to prove how well you know a friend or you take a short personality test to match with a character from your favorite TV show.
These quizzes ask seemingly silly or meaningless questions, but scammers can use that information for nefarious purposes. For example, some quizzes collect personal information by asking questions like:
- “What is your mother’s maiden name?”
- “What is the name of the street you grew up on?”
- “What high school did you graduate?”
- “Where have you lived?”
These are standard security questions for credit reports, banking accounts, and credit card accounts. Sharing this information can lead to your accounts being hacked and your personal and financial information being stolen.
“Not all social media quizzes are a data collection scam, but users should be cautious of what information they share online,” says Julie Wheeler, president and CEO of BBB Serving Western Virginia. “Social media data and quiz answers can be used to steal your identity or enable a scammer to impersonate you to your friends and family,” says Wheeler.
Tips to Avoid Social Media Scams
- Be skeptical: Before you take 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 your social media account’s privacy settings, be strict about what information you share, and be mindful of who you are sharing it.
- Remove personal details from your profile: Don’t share information like your phone number or home address on social media.
- Don’t give answers to common security questions: Be cautious if the questions in a quiz ask for things such as your mother’s maiden name, location or street you grew up on, 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
If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams.
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