/ Articles / Bored at home? Don’t fall for these social media scams

Bored at home? Don’t fall for these social media scams

April 21, 2020

With most of the U.S. and Canada 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 personal information.

How the scam works

Quizzes on Facebook or another social media platform may be fun — answer a few questions and prove how well you know a friend, or take a short personality test to match with a character from a 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?” 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  accounts being hacked, and personal and financial information being stolen.

Not all social media quizzes are a data collection scam, but Better Business Bureau (BBB) cautions users to be careful about what they share online. Social media data and quiz answers can be used to steal an identity or enable a scammer to impersonate you to friends and family.


Tips to avoid social media scams

• Be skeptical: Before taking a quiz, figure out who created it. Is it a trusted brand? Just because something appears to be fun and innocent, doesn’t mean there isn’t an inherent risk.

• Adjust privacy settings: Review social media account’s privacy settings and be strict about what information you share and be mindful of who you are sharing it with.

• 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 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 or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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