While they’re practicing social distancing as part of an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, many people are turning to social media to stay connected and pass the time. Navigator Credit Union wants to warn of an old trick identity thieves are deploying to get your information.
Navigator, along with the Better Business Bureau, warns you to think twice before taking part in social media challenges and quizzes. These are those posts which ask, “What was your favorite teacher’s name? Who was your first grade teacher? Who was your childhood best friend? What was your first car?” and similar questions.
If these questions sound familiar, they should! These are the many of the same questions you are asked as security questions when setting up bank and credit card accounts. When you answer these questions and post your responses online, you may not realize you are also giving the answers needed to get past the security questions set up to protect your private information and money.
Although many of these posts are simply meant for fun, hackers are also setting up these “get to know you” posts as a way to steal your information. They then can steal your online identity, build a profile of you and use the information you inadvertenly handed them in order to hack your accounts or open lines of credit in your name.
Here are some tips to avoid social media scams:
- Be skeptical: Before you take a quiz, see if you can 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 share friends’ information: Many quizzes, games and apps ask for access to your friends list and information. Do not grant permissions without asking your friends first! While you are choosing to give access to your information, they aren’t – and you could be putting them at risk, too.
- 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.
Of course, not all of the quizzes, posts and games are scams. However it is best to remain vigilant and refrain for such activities as there is no way to tell which ones may have been created by scammers. When it comes to this seemingly innocent “fun,” it is truly better to be safe than sorry.