With most Americans under orders to stay at home due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many people are turning to social media for a fun distraction. Taking a Facebook quiz about how well you know a friend or what character from your favorite TV show best matches your personality may seem like a harmless way to pass the time while quarantined, but it could also give scammers your personal information for nefarious purposes.
Not all social media quizzes are data collection scams, but some quizzes collect personal information by asking questions like: “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 banking and credit card accounts. Sharing this information can lead to your accounts being hacked and your personal and financial information being stolen. It also can enable a scammer to impersonate you to your friends and family.
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 and be strict about what information you share -- and with whom you are sharing it.
- Remove personal details from your profile. Don’t share information like your 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, 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 list of friends.
Report any scams to Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker.
BBB has consumer tips on COVID-19 at bbb.org/coronavirus and business tips at bbb.org/covid.
For assistance, go to bbb.org or call 573-803-3190.