Fraud Free Friday


From the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Social media is still used as a fun distraction for some people and taking a Facebook quiz may seem like a harmless way to pass the time. But are you giving away more information than you think?

How the Scam Works:

A fun quiz pops up on your Facebook feed or another social media platform. A few questions are answered to prove how well you know a friend. Or a short personality test is offered to match with a character from a favorite TV show.

These quizzes appear to be meaningless, but the intent behind them is to collect information. For example, questions like:  "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?”  These are common security questions for insurance, banking and credit card accounts. Sharing this information can lead to accounts being hacked, and personal and financial information being stolen.

Not all social media quizzes are data collection scams, however, BBB cautions users to be careful about what they share online and to check the privacy settings on the account. Social media data and quiz answers can be used to steal identity or enable a scammer to impersonate you to your friends and family.

Tips to Avoid Social Media Scams:

  • Be skeptical: Before answering a quiz, figure out who created it. Is it a brand you trust? Just because something appears to be fun and innocent, doesn't mean there isn't a risk.
  • Adjust privacy settings: Review the social media account’s privacy settings and be strict about any information that is shared  - and be mindful of who you are sharing it with.
  • Remove personal details from your profile: Don’t share information like phone number or home address on social media accounts.
  • Don't give answers to common security questions: Be cautious if the questions in a quiz ask for things like your mother's maiden name, street you grew up on, previously owned vehicles, favorite foods, or the name of your high school.
  • Monitor Friend Requests: Don't accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Also be wary of a second friend request from someone you are already connected with; the second profile may be an imposter trying to access your data and your friends list.


Today we're launching "Fraud Free Friday." Each Friday, we'll be bringing you a tip to help keep you safe from fraud of all types.

Today's tip: Did you know your choice of password can leave an opening for hackers? While your pet's name, or your birthdate might be easier to remember, we recommend choosing a strong password, especially for online banking, or any site where money is exchanged.

Some of the most common mistakes you may be making with your password include:

  • Using personal information, such as your name, address or date of birth
  • Choosing passwords that are too short
  • Relying on common, easy to remember words or simple number combinations
  • Using the same password for many websites
  • Not regularly updating passwords

While doing those things may make passwords easier for YOU to remember, keep in mind you're also making it easier for a hacker to figure out your password and access your accounts. Here are some tips for creating stronger passwords:

  • Choose longer passwords, like a phrase rather than a single word
  • Use a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters
  • Avoid common sequences such as "1234" or "password"
  • Don't use personal information such as your child or pets name, date of birth, hobbies...more on this next week! 
  • Don't store your login details within the digital banking site or app
  • Update your passwords regularly. Changing every three to six months will lower the odds of your password being decoded by hackers. 
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