Seemingly harmless social media quizzes could pose hidden risks

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NEW YORK – How many times have you clicked one of those online quizzes just to pass the time? They seem harmless, but experts say there could be hidden dangers to answering what seem like innocuous questions.

They’re wildly popular, but Noah Birnbaum from FITECH security firm says it’s important to think about what you pick before you click.

“There are a lot of fun quizzes that you want to participate in,” he told WCBS-TV’s Alex Denis. “You need to make sure it’s a reputable site. But, if it’s an organization you’re not familiar with, and it asks you to log in, you should be wary.”

The Better Business Bureau has posted warnings about Facebook quizzes, especially a popular one called “10 Concerts I’ve Been To,” which allowed scammers to learn the answers to users’ login security questions.

Other quizzes are click-bait, meaning the sole purpose is to lead users to dangerous sites that extract personal data.

Some quizzes ask for access to your account, but the fine print basically means anything entered from then on is no longer yours.

“Whatever application you’re linked to or signing into, they actually own all the information you’re uploading to the quiz,” Birnbaum said.

Sometimes the information is sold to advertising companies. Other times, scammers use it to crack accounts.

“If they get access to your profile, they’ll get your first and last name, email address, phone number, age range, geographic location, what high school you went to,” Birnbaum said. “The list goes on and on.”

So if a quiz asks you to log in, provide an email, or hand over personal information, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Experts say you should never be prompted to download anything. To be extra safe, set up two-step authentication for better security.

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