Oh, how much fun are those silly Facebook quizzes? Fun, but risky! There is a privacy issue, a scam issue and a security issue. Let’s begin with the simplest – most Facebook quizzes require access to the details listed in your Facebook profile. Many times your profile or posts include your religion, relationship status, political affiliation, photos, friends, groups you’re part of, your town, your family, email address, events you’ve attended (and plan to attend) and more. Companies pay extraordinary amounts of money to mine private data to sell to you or scam you. Don’t give anyone access to that information unless you trust them – and most of those pop-up laden quiz links are not trustworthy sources!
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) also warns consumers to be careful with IQ tests, quizzes and “clickbait” – these links are intriguing and seem like harmless fun. Many do more damage than cluttering up your Facebook feed, they contain viruses that can damage your computer, while others are phishing scams that attempt to steal sensitive personal information. If the app itself isn’t malicious, banner ads that appear alongside the ad could lead to unwanted email or worse, viruses. Wonder why some people get their profile hijacked so often? Vulnerable passwords and insecure activity can be part of the cause.
BBB advises consumers to be careful when clicking on posts promising you salacious pictures or video of celebrities, quizzes or content that prompts you to click with a headline such as, “you won’t believe what happens when….” While some of these are merely marketing messages from reputable companies, others aim to steal your information or take other malicious actions.
BBB offers the following tips to protect yourself from social media scams:
- Only take quizzes or polls where you know the source and if that has a realistic poll topic. For example, the Board of Realtors might have a poll that you might trust if it was about real estate or the Berkshires, or the Berkshire Eagle asking about broadband or Tanglewood.
- Don’t take the bait. Stay away from promotions of “exclusive,” “shocking” or “sensational” pictures or video. If it sounds too outlandish to be true, it is probably a scam.
- Hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click, mouse over the link to see where it will take you. Don’t click on links leading to unfamiliar websites.
- Confirm before you trust your “friends” online. It might not actually be your friends who are “liking” or sharing scam links to photos, quizzes or games. Their account may have been hacked and scammers could be using another tactic called “clickjacking”. Clickjacking is a technique that scammers use to trick you into clicking on social media links that you would not usually click on.
- Report scam posts on Facebook by following these instructions.
- Consumers are urged to contact BBB at 314-645-3300 or www.bbb.org, for a BBB Business Review before doing business with any company or charity.