Facebook quizzes might be stealing your identity.
If you’ve ever been really bored and considered taking one of those (admittedly ridiculous) Facebook quizzes — don’t. There’s a good chance that the seemingly innocent questionnaire has been designed to steal your identity.
The police department in Sutton, Massachusetts posted a warning on Facebook, discouraging users from interacting with quizzes they find on the social media platform.
“Please be aware of some of the posts you comment on,” the department wrote. “The posts that ask what was your first grade teacher, who was your childhood best friend, your first car, the place you [were] born, your favorite place, your first pet, where did you go on your first flight, etc …Those are the same questions asked when setting up accounts as security questions.”
Basically, hackers can use that information to open lines of credit in your name, trick you into opening virus links, and hack into your personal accounts. Super creepy, huh?
A startling number of Facebook quizzes ask for your birth month and day — which just seems highly suspicious. Why do they need our birthdays to figure out our Elf Name? Why do we need to figure out our Elf Name in general? A lot of questions that need to be answered here.
Don’t let this scare you away from taking quizzes entirely. You should still feel free to use trusted platforms that don’t ask for weirdly specific details about your personal life. Consider: does a “Which Golden Girl Are You?” quiz really need to know you childhood best friend’s first name?
The solution to all of this (besides avoiding the itching temptation to take quizzes altogether), might just be to figure out a way to substitute security questions entirely.
“I would like to see this practice go away,” Jim Fenton, an identity privacy and security consultant, told Wired. “If passwords are vulnerable why are security questions somehow so special that they live on forever?”
In the meantime, your best bet for privacy is to be very, very careful with the sort of personal information you put out there. And, if the quiz seems like it’s on the up and up, definitely do take that Golden Girls quiz on Buzzfeed. (Fingers crossed for Blanche.)