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Think twice before taking quizzes on social media

While some social media quizzes and surveys might be fun to take while passing the time, you may be unintentionally sharing your personal information.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Have you ever been invited to take a quiz on social media that asks harmless questions like where your hometown is located or asking for your mother’s maiden name?

Well, these are some of the many examples of scammers ‘phishing’ for your personal information.

Experts describe ‘phishing’ as the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

CEO and president of the Better Business Bureau Glenna Friedrich said scammers are finding more and more ways to collect people's information and do damage. 

“From asking what your high school mascot was to your favorite food to eat. All of this information is needed for hackers and scammers to potentially get your personal password and have all access to your information. Internet users need to stay away from these seemingly fun quizzes because they are trying to get all they can on you,” Friedrich said. 

In addition, the Better Business Bureau reported common security questions such as "What was the first car you owned?", “What is your mother's maiden name?”, or “What is the name of the street you grew up on?”, are for insurance, banking and credit card accounts. Sharing this information can lead to accounts being hacked, as well as personal and financial information being stolen.

Hacking, scamming, and phishing has been an ongoing issue not just around the country but also right here in San Angelo. After asking some people if they participate in the online surveys, they said they never fall for it. 

“After my personal experience dealing with my Facebook account being hacked, I stayed away from those quizzes. They’ve always seemed invasive to me so I’ve never participated in them,’ Facebook user Jerry Montelongo shared. 

How do you know if a quiz or a survey is a scam?

While not all social media quizzes are data collection scams, Friedrich cautions users to be careful about what they share online and to check the privacy settings on your accounts. Also, be mindful when a friend on social media sends you a link to do a quiz or a survey because it might lead to your information being stolen. 

“My suggestion is to just leave those surveys alone no matter how tempting and fun they look. All it takes is one time and you could lose everything. Never provide your personal information and always be weary of what you do online,” Friedrich said. 

Friedrich suggests reporting any suspicious activity to the Better Business Bureau.