We’ve all – yes, probably all – have taken some sort of online quiz. What Hollywood star would be a perfect partner for you? What was your first car? Where did you go to high school?
Guess what – these things have a lot in common: they’re trying to sucker you in so they can get their grubby little hands on your personally identifiable information (PII).
So, before you take a quiz to find out which Marvel character you’re most like, ask yourself: Do I know who’s gathering this information about me — or what they plan to do with it?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that all those cute little quizzes and surveys are carefully crafted to get innocent people to spill the beans on the answers to security questions that they can turn around and use those answers to try and reset your accounts, then steal your bank and other account information.
The agency says that some scammers go even further, by hacking social media accounts and sending malware links to friends of the hacked account holder under the guise of sharing a quiz.
It’s ok to lie!
Even though they’re tempting, Terri Miller, a consumer education specialist at the FTC, says don’t take the bait.
“One major way to protect your personal information — in addition to maintaining strong passwords and using multi-factor authentication — is to steer clear of online quizzes -- or just don’t answer them truthfully,” she said.
Miller had some interesting advice on how to outsmart the tricksters. “As for accounts that require actual security questions, treat them like additional passwords and use random answers, preferably long ones, for those too. Asked to enter your mother’s maiden name? Say it’s something else: Parmesan or another word you’ll remember.
Or use a password manager to store a unique answer. This way, scammers won’t be able to use the information they find to steal your identity,” she said.