Social media is a place where people go to interact with friends, meet new people, and play games. It’s easy, fun, and can be insightful if you follow reputable accounts. But there are dark sides to social media, such as fake accounts, stalking, and even identity theft.
Many social media platforms have games, quizzes, surveys, and other apps that seek to enrich your user experience. Facebook is by far the largest social media platform with lots of apps, but some of them are problematic.
To participate in Facebook quizzes, you have to grant the quiz creator access to your Facebook page. Using that access, the quiz creator will have the following information on you:
- Your full name and date of birth.
- Your maiden name if you are a married woman.
- Your family members and pets.
- Your education level.
- Favorite books, music, movies and other interests.
- Your political leaning.
You may think the above information is harmless, but it’s invaluable in the hands of cybercriminals. While fun, here are a few specific reasons you shouldn’t take social media quizzes.
- Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft
You will find a lot of quizzes that coyly ask you for personal information. They draw you in with a topic that may interest you, like “Which Game of Thrones character are you?” or “What would your superhero name be?” Inside the quiz, you will find topic-related questions, but they will eventually ask for personal information like your maiden name, favorite band, or which school you went to.
You may think the information is harmless. Your social circle already knows it. But the hackers don’t, and they will use it to harm you. They can use that information to answer security questions or guess your password and infiltrate your accounts.
- Avoid Phishing Scams
A phishing scam uses fraudulent communication to trick the recipient into clicking a link or divulging important information. A security question is a vital part of retrieving your password. Scammers can use a quiz to gain further information from you. They can ask seemingly harmless questions which may link to security questions.
A cybercriminal can act like a magazine company asking you lifestyle questions when in fact, they are gleaning information from you. Some questions you will need to note are regarding your first pet, nickname in high school, or the street name of your childhood. Once they are in your account, they can use it to extend their reach by sending the quizzes to your contacts.
How do you know if a quiz or a survey is a scam? It’s important to understand that not all quizzes are a scam. Some are legitimate and come from reputable sources. It may be safe if it comes from a verified source with a reputable brand.
If anyone, including close friends and family, sends you a quiz link, it’s best not to click on it. You may contact the person who sent the link and inquire about it. Sometimes you’ll find that they didn’t send it because their account is compromised. If they did, you could ask them about the safety and legitimacy of the quiz.
- Malicious Links and Downloads
Avoid clicking through any links or downloading attachments the quiz may provide. Within Facebook, even with its security protocols, cybercriminals can still find a way to inflict damage. If you click your way out of Facebook and into their environment, you will be at their mercy.
If malware goes unchecked, it can wreak havoc on your computer, so don’t leave anything to chance. If you mistakenly clicked a malicious link or downloaded a suspicious attachment, you should immediately run a full system antivirus/malware scan. If you believe the antivirus software isn’t working well, you can call a computer repair services company to provide a solution.
Practical Tips if You Can’t Resist Taking Quizzes
If you find quizzes too irresistible or face peer pressure to take them, you can provide fake information. If any question sounds too personal or looks like a security question, don’t answer truthfully or at all. These can be questions like:
- What is your favorite pet?
- What’s your mother’s maiden name?
- What’s your favorite band?
- Where did you grow up?
If you suspect a quiz is malicious, keep an eye on your accounts and online transactions.
Fun But Harmful
It might look like innocent, free fun, but you may be paying for it with your personal data. The quizzes you find on social media can be fun, but they can also be malicious. Avoid taking them and warn those you know of the risks involved, however insignificant and harmless they may seem.