Quizzes on Facebook and other social media are very popular, but they can be exploited by identity thieves. A good example of this was the “10 Concerts, but there is one act that I haven’t seen live.  Which is it?” Facebook quiz.  While this may appear harmless, the information you provide may tell more about you than is safe to make public.  It may provide information about your approximate age and preferences in music which can then be used by a scammer to send you a phishing email tailored to appeal to your particular interests that you may trust and click on a link contained in the email that contains either keystroke logging malware that can be used to steal your identity or ransomware.  Quizzes that ask about your favorite place to live or favorite movie characters may seem like simple fun, but may have been posted by an identity thief seeking to gather information the identity thief can use to make you a victim of identity theft.  In addition, providing this type of personal information can help an identity thief determine your passwords or the answers to security questions that would enable the identity thief to change your passwords.  Particularly problematic is when a pop up appears when you start the quiz requiring you to agree to allow a third-party application access to your Facebook profile.  If you agree to this, you are permitting the quiz poster to gain access to your Facebook profile information, your location and much more.  Don’t do it.

Today on my Facebook page I saw this post from the Chatham, Massachusetts Police Department which explains the problem with quizzes quite succinctly.

May be an image of text that says 'Where did you grow up: STOP Favorite Color: GIVING First pet' name: PEOPLE Street you grew up up on: YOUR Favorite child's name: PERSONAL Favorite sports team: INFORMATION High school mascot: Το Favorite food: GUESS What was you first car: YOUR Mom's maiden name: PASSWORDS First ob: AND Favorite band: SECURITY Elementary school name: QUESTIONS'


We all tend to put too much personal information on social media that can be exploited by scammers and identity thieves to our detriment. My advice is to avoid the problem entirely and not play these online games. However, if you, as many people do, find these quizzes and games to be fun to play, you may want to just adjust your privacy setting to “friends only” so that you limit who gets to see your answers.  You also may want to check out your Facebook profile and remove personal information such as your phone number or home address.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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