Police Warning: Facebook Quizzes Could Lead to Identity Theft—Stop ASAP

Facebook quizzes, often asking which fictional character you are or what your favorite color reveals about your personality, are hugely popular. Millions engage with them, but police warn they may not be just harmless fun. Even with strict privacy settings, the details you share can be visible to anyone.

These quizzes often lure users into revealing answers to common security questions—like your mother’s maiden name or the street you grew up on.

Cybercriminals use this seemingly innocuous data, combined with public profile information, to hack accounts or steal identities.

The Privacy Risks of Facebook Quizzes

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Facebook quizzes can be entertaining, promising insights into which Disney princess you resemble or what your birth month says about you. However, these quizzes aren’t just fun and games—they pose a real risk to your personal information.

Many quizzes request details such as your first name, birth month, hometown, and pet’s name. Though these might seem harmless, sharing your quiz results publicly, which often includes your full name, exposes this data to anyone on Facebook.

Identity thieves are adept at compiling personal details from various quizzes to piece together your identity (ref). Common security answers like your birthday or pet’s name are key to accessing sensitive accounts. Therefore, while the allure of quiz results is tempting, participating might inadvertently offer up the keys to your digital life.

Police Warnings

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It’s not just a few concerned individuals sounding the alarm about Facebook quizzes. In fact, police departments and consumer protection agencies are now warning the public about the risks of participating in these viral trends.

The Sutton Police Department in Massachusetts recently shared a warning about Facebook quizzes on their official Facebook page (ref). The post quickly went viral, racking up over 800,000 shares as people spread the word about the potential dangers.

In their warning, the Sutton Police explained how quizzes can trick people into giving away answers to common security questions without realizing it.

Example of Problematic Viral Quizzes

One common type of Facebook quiz that can put your personal information at risk is the “What’s Your Elf Name?” style name quiz. These quizzes typically ask for the first letter of your first name and your birth month, then combine them to generate a silly seasonal nickname for you to share.

While it may seem like harmless holiday fun, participating in these quizzes actually reveals key pieces of your identity to anyone who sees the shared results. By providing the first letter of your name and your birth month, you’re giving away important details that could be used to guess your passwords or impersonate you online.

It’s important to remember that the people creating these viral quizzes may not have any ill intent. They could just be looking to create shareable content that drives traffic to their page or website.

However, even if the quiz maker means no harm, the personal information you share in your results could still be used by identity thieves and scammers.

Know the Risks

When you post your quiz results publicly, you’re essentially handing over valuable data to anyone who wants to exploit it. Criminals can use those small pieces of information to fill in the gaps and build a more complete profile of your identity.

They may even be able to use your quiz answers to get past security questions and gain access to your accounts.

So while it may be tempting to join in on the latest Facebook quiz craze, it’s important to think twice before participating. Even seemingly innocent questions could be putting your personal information at risk without you realizing it.

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Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.