LIVE: Protesters march through the streets of downtown Milwaukee
Hub for reliable, timely news about COVID-19 pandemic

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

Getty Images

MILWAUKEE —  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, according to the BBB.

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.
Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.