Let's find out what your Elf Name is. Pick which month you were born. That's your first name. Now look at your day of birth. That's your last name. Cute, right? This is a common quiz that we see on Facebook all the time. It asks you these questions, then tells you to share your answers so friends can have a good laugh, too. It's just like those other ones that ask you:
Which dog breed are you? Fill in your favorite color, your mother's maiden name, and your high school mascot to find out!
So much fun. They seem so harmless, coming to you in your social media feed between posts from your Aunt Janet and her adorable kittens and your best friend's pics from Mackinac Island.
They may be fun, but they are frequently quite dangerous when it comes to your safety. What do you notice about the questions above? Have you seen ones like them anywhere else? Yep, these are typical security questions you fill in when you create an online account, such as the one with your bank.
Filling out quizzes like these on social media can lead to scammers stealing your identity, stealing your money, and impersonating you to your friends and family. Not all quizzes are bad, but you should be very cautious before taking one. Here are some tips to stay safe:
1. Be skeptical–try to find out who created the quiz. Is it a person or brand you trust? If not, don't proceed.
2. Don't give answers to common security questions–even answers to things that seem so innocuous, like favorite foods or the street you grew up on.
3. Remove personal details from your social media profile–don't publish your phone number or home address.
4. Check your social media account's privacy settings–be stingy about what info you share, and who gets to see it.
5. Monitor your friend requests–don't accept requests from people you don't know, and be wary of second requests from people you're already friends with. These may be imposters trying to get your data and list of friends.
Unfortunately, social media can be a tricky and unsafe to place to be sometimes. However, knowing that there are risks and how to stay away from them can keep your time on there fun. As I always say, don't be scared. Just be vigilant. This way you can still enjoy those videos of Aunt Janet's 6 cats chasing her from the dinner table and eating her tuna casserole.