In light of the recent revelation that Cambridge Analytica allegedly mined personal information from more than 87 million Facebook users, the Better Business Bureau is reminding consumers that what is shared online could be used for illegal or unethical reasons.
For instance, many of those on Facebook (and other social media platforms) are drawn to the Personality Quizzes that pop up from time to time. Although they seem fun and innocent enough, clicking on them could expose more of the user’s information than they are comfortable with. It could also grant permission for random posts to appear on a variety of topics, usually with the user unaware that it is happening.
These quizzes may ask seemingly silly or useless questions regarding your mother’s maiden name or the name of your favorite pet. Once entered, there is a chance that you could be giving away the answers to your password security questions! Hackers can then use that information to penetrate your social media accounts and gain access to your personal information or the information of your friends and family.
Profile data, quiz answers and more can be used to steal your money, or allow a scammer pretend to be you in order to steal someone else’s money. As many have discovered, that information can even be used to build a profile on you that can be sold to anyone trying to influence society.
According to the BBB, there are a "Facebook Rules" than can help you avoid social media scams:
- Be Skeptical. Before you take a quiz, figure out who created it. Is it a brand you trust?
- Adjust your privacy settings. Review your social media account’s privacy settings and be strict about what information you share.
- Remove personal details from your user profile. Be careful about sharing information like your phone number or home address on social media accounts.
- Be selective with friend requests. It may not be a good idea to accept friend requests from someone you do not know. Take the time necessary to do a little investigating!
Those who feel like they may already have been a victim of a social media scam should go to the BBB Scam Tracker and report your experience.
Got a question for the BBB? Contact Regional Director Kelly Trevino at firstname.lastname@example.org.