How Facebook Surveys Phish to Obtain Your Information

Your Uncle Jeffrey shared a quiz he did on Facebook about what kind of superhero he would be. Although it sounds tempting, it’s best to avoid all social media quizzes.

Topics may be light and many questions may not be straightforward to get specific information from you, but that doesn’t mean it can’t help scammers or hackers find important information for security questions on bank accounts.

There is a treasure trove of information about the vast array of social media servers in Silicon Valley and beyond. This personal information is available to everyone on Facebook, by default:

Name: Your name is the first step to regaining your identity.

Date of birth: This is an important step under the HIPAA medical privacy law to authenticate your identity.

Address: it can be obtained by looking at photos that have been geotagged.

That’s enough information for a bad guy to show up at your pharmacy and collect your medicine, so imagine what else he could do with it?

Quizzes only need a small amount of information to start ripping you off for more than just your prescriptions.

Sometimes they get what they want by redirecting you to a site that downloads malicious code to your computer. Other times, the quiz itself is the culprit, perhaps teasing your mother’s maiden name by tracing your family tree or drawing a fake family crest for you.

Quizzes and apps that rate things based on zip code are also suspect – zip code being a common question credit card processors ask for remote transactions.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Beware of having to log in or create a profile in places you’ve never been before.
  • Do not show your children’s faces.
  • Don’t share your emotions too much – scammers love that.
  • Keep certain rooms in your home private and don’t display your belongings. People can make a lot of accurate assumptions about you based on what you own.
  • If you start losing friends, unethical and “rogue” apps can harass them. “Friends of Friends” is an option on Facebook for advertisers.

My final piece of advice is to lie a little about the security issues that have been so pervasive lately. Consider it a chance to create a new story for yourself.

Judy Heft is the CEO/Founder of Judith Heft Associates, a financial and lifestyle concierge that celebrates 26 years in the business of helping people stay financially organized. She is a Certified Financial Coach and the author of “How to Be Smart, Successful, and Organized with Your Money.” For more information, visit

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