Your Uncle Jeffrey has shared a quiz that he did on Facebook about what kind of superhero he would be. While that looks like a tempting way to waste your time, it’s best to steer clear of any and all social media quizzes. The topics might be lighthearted, and a lot of the questions might not be direct in getting specific information out of you, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t help scammers or hackers find answers to security questions.
Sometimes they get what they want by redirecting you to a site that downloads malicious code to your computer. Other times the quiz itself is the culprit, perhaps teasing your mother’s maiden name out of you by charting your family tree, or drawing a bogus family crest for you.
Here are some more tips:
- Be wary of having to sign in or create a profile in places you’ve never been to before. It’s never worth the time and effort, and you will forget about it.
- Consider not showing your kids’ faces in any pictures you post. They’re adorable, but a cute kid is a cute kid, you know? (I’m afraid I am guilty as charged on this one 😉)
- Don’t overshare your emotions. Anything you put online will be used six ways to Sunday — not just by actual scammers, but big mega-corporations collecting every last bit of your online behavior. If you have receipts to share, I recommend doing that in a direct message. Those are still private — I believe.
- Most scams affect more than just you. If you notice your friend or follower numbers start to go down, it may be because unethical and scammy apps that you installed are pestering them. Advertising to “Friends of Friends” is actually a popular option that Facebook advertisers seek out.
My last piece of advice involves a little lying…on the security questions that are so ubiquitous lately. Think of it as a chance to create a new story for yourself, like maybe your security persona comes from a wine-producing part of the old world that still uses real butter.
There’s also the often forgotten nuclear option when the household goes to bed. Simply unplugging your router is the ultimate security precaution.
A lot has happened since a landfill’s worth of AOL installation discs were sent out, unsolicited, to millions of Americans. Your online life can still be that fun and carefree, though — after you shore up your defenses.
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