Social media quizzes a gateway for scammers and hackers

COLORADO SPRINGS — It’s true, not every social media quiz or questionnaire is a scam, but depending on who can see the information it could allow someone who is up to no good to have opportunities to steal your identity or impersonate you to friends and family.

Social media quizzes, surveys, and questionnaires have been around for years and while most people see them as a fun way to interact with your connections online, fraud experts say it could provide a gateway for scammers and hackers.

”For example I’ve seen them come up where they are asking questions about your year and month of birth and then they’ll give you your celebrity name or super hero name,” said “Dr. Fraud” J. Michael Skiba of CSU Global.

Partial information about many of us is out there due to so many data breaches over the years. So fraud experts say the crooks can use these quizzes to complete the information they need for identity theft or to hack into our accounts.

”They are going to use that to piece together parts of identity theft for you. So, in other words if they capture your month and your date of birth now they are also going to have your IP address because you engage with them and maybe device information. They are going to try to sell this on the dark web or commit identity theft with that,” said Skiba.

In fact, the Federal Trade Commission says in 2021 alone more than $770 million dollars was lost to scams originating on social media.

”One of the reasons why is because studies show we spend upwards of 11 hours per day on devices. So there are just tons and tons of opportunity,” said Skiba.

Here are the steps the Better Business Bureau suggests we take to avoid social media scams…

Be skeptical of any quiz or questionnaire: Ask yourself, who created this?

Take time to adjust your social media settings to make sure you’re protected

Remove personal details from your profile: Things like your phone number and home address are a good place to start)

Don’t give up answers to common security questions: Things like your mother’s maiden name, names of schools, previously owned vehicles or the street you grew up on.

Monitor your friend requests and who you accept: Often scammers will set up imposter profiles to appear like a family member or friend.

“The most vulnerable population seems to be from 18 to 39. They seem to be the ones who get tricked the most with these social media quizzes,” said Skiba.

More than 95,000 people reported they were targeted by fraud initiated on social media last year– while we know a majority of frauds are never reported– the data suggests social media is the top way for fraudsters to try to connect with us and they’re making a profit off of people who aren’t careful.

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