Identity Theft Alert: AARP Warns Social Media Quizzes Could Reveal Your Personal Info

Smiling woman with eyeglasses using laptop at home.
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Who doesn’t love a social media quiz? Perhaps the quiz will reveal which Disney villain you are, or what dog breed you were in a past life. So what’s the problem with passing time with some harmless fun? According to a Feb. 6 AARP blog post, it’s not the quiz itself that is potentially dangerous; it’s the personal information contained in your answers and who reads them. 

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“Online quizzes on social media are kind of a recipe for disaster for identity theft,” Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Chicago office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) told AARP. 

How so? Say for instance in one of your answers you share the name of your first pet, your favorite type of car or the name of the city you were born in. These are common answers to online security questions and could even be contained in your passwords.

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Identity theft via online quizzes has gotten so bad that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning about it last month, and suggested that those who want to take online quizzes and personality tests either steer clear of them or just provide untruthful answers.  

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So, when you’re tempted to take an online quiz, keep in mind that someone is reading your answers, and someone is doing something with the data you’re entering. It may not be worth it to find out whether you’re Cruella or Ursula, after all. 

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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