Bored at home? Don’t fall for these social media scams
Milwaukee, Wis. – With most of the US 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 your personal information.
How the Scam Works:
You see a fun quiz on Facebook or another social media platform. What’s the harm, you figure? You answer a few questions and 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?” 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.
Not all social media quizzes are a data collection scam, but BBB cautions users to be careful about what they share online. 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.
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 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
For more on social media scams, see this article on Facebook messager cons and this about social media advertising. For more consumer tips regarding COVID-19, see bbb.org/coronavirus. For more business tips, see bbb.org/covid. 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.
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.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.