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(112,385 posts)
Sun Apr 23, 2023, 08:26 PM Apr 2023

*Public Service Announcement* Friendly reminder that DU is still a public page.

And, it is even considered a target by some forces (election night 2016).

I like that we can have fun and bond (hello kitten pics) but, every now and then remember that lurkers may not have the same good intentions of friendship as our fellow members.

Have fun, and still be careful.
Peace out. ✌🏽


Facebook has these questions that are supposed to be fun for everyone to get to know each other. One thing that can lead to it though is getting information within the answers to be able to answer security questions. Answering about your first dog, where you were born, or anything with personal information will lead to figuring out security questions for bank accounts, credit card information, and even billing information! They seem to be fun when you first answer them, but when the wrong person gets their hands on that kind of information, it can lead to more severe accounts that can be compromised and information being stolen.

The posts that ask what was your first grade teacher, who was your childhood best friend, your first car, the place you [were] born, your favorite place, your first pet, where did you go on your first flight … Those are the same questions asked when setting up accounts as security questions. You are giving out the answers to your security questions without realizing it! Hackers can use these questions to build a profile and hack into your accounts or open lines of credit causing a breach!


Social media is used as a fun distraction for some people, and taking a Facebook quiz may seem like a harmless way to pass the time. But are you giving away more information than you think?
How the scam works:
A fun quiz pops up on your Facebook feed or another social media platform. A few questions are answered to prove how well you know a friend. Or a short personality test is offered to match with a character from a favorite TV show.
These quizzes appear to be meaningless, but the intent behind them is to collect information. For example, questions like: "What was the first car you owned?" “What is your mother's maiden name?” or “What is the name of the street you grew up on?” These are common security questions for insurance, banking and credit card accounts. Sharing this information can lead to accounts being hacked, and personal and financial information being stolen.
Not all social media quizzes are data collection scams; however, BBB cautions users to be careful about what they share online and to check the privacy settings on the account. Social media data and quiz answers can be used to steal identity or enable a scammer to impersonate you to your friends and family.

Consider, for example, the following quiz posted to Facebook by San Benito Tire Pros, a tire and auto repair shop in California. It asks Facebook users, “What car did you learn to drive stick shift on?”

I hope this is painfully obvious, but for many people the answer will be the same as to the question, “What was the make and model of your first car?”, which is one of several “secret questions” most commonly used by banks and other companies to let customers reset their passwords or gain access to the account without knowing the password.

*Public Service Announcement* Friendly reminder that DU is still a public page. (Original Post) blm Apr 2023 OP
Some of us have never used real information for security questions. Ms. Toad Apr 2023 #1
Good tips. Pinback Apr 2023 #4
Good ideas. Thanks! Nt spooky3 Apr 2023 #8
This is a good reminder Deuxcents Apr 2023 #2
Thanks very much BOSSHOG Apr 2023 #3
Wish it weren't so, but, we live in Greedville blm Apr 2023 #6
Kick dalton99a Apr 2023 #5
Thank you blm Marthe48 Apr 2023 #7
🫶🏽 blm Apr 2023 #9
❤️ ✿❧🌿❧✿ ❤️ Lucinda Apr 2023 #10
I don't recall seeing those kinds of questions on DU. ShazzieB Apr 2023 #11
Also search engines orthoclad Apr 2023 #12
And test-marketed to the Nth degree blm Apr 2023 #25
Fun survey question! [No responses, please.] royable Apr 2023 #13
We learned all we needed to know about Facebook from the Cambridge Analytica scandal Rhiannon12866 Apr 2023 #14
❤️ littlemissmartypants Apr 2023 #15
I'm a little surprised at the disclosive posts here GenThePerservering Apr 2023 #16
reading through same posts now ... stopdiggin Apr 2023 #18
The reference was to other threads. blm Apr 2023 #19
I'm regularly amazed at the identifying info people give up about themselves here. BlackSkimmer Apr 2023 #22
I did, as well, in DU's early days. blm Apr 2023 #24
ah, yes. I missed the context stopdiggin Apr 2023 #27
Facebook is a tracking machine. Remember Cambridge Analytica. Hermit-The-Prog Apr 2023 #17
Exactly. I never fell for the 'fun quiz' fish. blm Apr 2023 #20
Sneaky link: UnFoxMyCableBox is also a scam. BEWARE! live love laugh Apr 2023 #21
Thanks. Still, Sorry to hear that happened. blm Apr 2023 #23
There's a LOT of posts in the Lounge that ask those questions. Pathwalker Apr 2023 #26

Ms. Toad

(33,027 posts)
1. Some of us have never used real information for security questions.
Sun Apr 23, 2023, 08:38 PM
Apr 2023

I have a standard set of answers, using an identical format so I can remember it, which have nothing to do with the actual question asked.

For example (not the real set I use):


So if the security question asks for my mother's maiden name, my childhood best friend, etc., the answer is always GEORGEWASHINGTON (all caps, no spaces).

Since the answer isn't related to the actual question, it is unlikely any hacker will be able to randomly guess it. Having a standardized list and format means I can remember it, even though it isn't an answer to the actual questions.

That means I can answer all the polls I want without much risk. (The only risk is stuff less likely to be asked in polls because it raises more suspicion that is used for instant approval of credit - addresses you lived at, bank holding mortgage, etc.)

I also check periodically to be sure there are no easy tracebacks from DU to my real life identity in any of my public posts. I've found one in all the time I've been here. I have an Imgur account set up in the same name as my user name here, for example, so following a link from my photos will only find you Ms. Toad's Imgur account.

(I share more freely in one-on-one private communications - which is a risk I choose to take with full awareness that someone communicating with me via DU mail, for example, might use that information)

Good reminder - and (I hope) a couple of pointers that can help you decide what risks to take, and tools to minimize risks yiou really don't want to take.


(12,033 posts)
4. Good tips.
Sun Apr 23, 2023, 09:23 PM
Apr 2023

I am similarly careful. I have never understood the urge to share so much of one’s IRL self on the Internet, even in online groups that are purportedly private.

One suggestion I’ve read and occasionally followed is to use gibberish answers to security questions, as in “First car: fdi35- )rF56&/.” If you store these in a high-security password manager app, you have a good solution that would be devilishly hard to crack.


(36,097 posts)
3. Thanks very much
Sun Apr 23, 2023, 09:21 PM
Apr 2023

I’m an old guy and appreciate yet another warning prompted by people who obviously can’t make an honest living.


(15,555 posts)
7. Thank you blm
Sun Apr 23, 2023, 09:36 PM
Apr 2023

I often see posts asking for information such as you mention, and cringe. I don't answer those questions on fb, and I don't answer them on DU.

Thank you for reminding all of us who read and post on DU.


(14,484 posts)
11. I don't recall seeing those kinds of questions on DU.
Sun Apr 23, 2023, 09:52 PM
Apr 2023

But if I do now, I will know to avoid replying to them!


(2,499 posts)
12. Also search engines
Sun Apr 23, 2023, 10:14 PM
Apr 2023

This is a VERY public page.

Several times when I ran a search on a topic I was writing about, the search engine returned links to my posts here. This shows that all posts here are indexed in search engines and can be cross-referenced by AI or advanced algorithms.

Selling personal information is a huge industry. How else did the googlers and Zuckerthing become billionaires from "free" services?

Personally, I would be careful mentioning places I've been or people I've known on very public sites. We are all commodities in the Information Age.


(1,263 posts)
13. Fun survey question! [No responses, please.]
Sun Apr 23, 2023, 11:09 PM
Apr 2023

What online quiz or question has made you cringe the most, thinking about all the gullible respondents giving away valuable answers to their security questions?

of sorts. Meta-humor, this is an attempt at.

blm, many thanks for the reminder. It is needed.


(195,317 posts)
14. We learned all we needed to know about Facebook from the Cambridge Analytica scandal
Sun Apr 23, 2023, 11:15 PM
Apr 2023

Followed by the whistleblower. Fortunately the admins have put additional safeguards in place after 2016 to help keep us safe. But I take your point.


(1,476 posts)
16. I'm a little surprised at the disclosive posts here
Mon Apr 24, 2023, 02:31 AM
Apr 2023

I can only assume that it's elder folk who don't have an understanding of the lack of privacy online.


(10,265 posts)
18. reading through same posts now ...
Mon Apr 24, 2023, 07:06 AM
Apr 2023

Little or nothing offering disclosure or of personal nature.

Did you perhaps imagine that GEORGEWASHINGTON was a real answer used on security screenings?



(51,308 posts)
22. I'm regularly amazed at the identifying info people give up about themselves here.
Mon Apr 24, 2023, 11:29 AM
Apr 2023

People post where they live, where they work, their children's names, their need to carry guns (concealed or open), their race, gender, marital status, jobs, their crimes...I could go on and on.


(112,385 posts)
24. I did, as well, in DU's early days.
Mon Apr 24, 2023, 02:04 PM
Apr 2023

I got too comfortable. But, people smarter than me warned us to be more careful.

live love laugh

(12,537 posts)
21. Sneaky link: UnFoxMyCableBox is also a scam. BEWARE!
Mon Apr 24, 2023, 11:25 AM
Apr 2023

Last edited Mon Apr 24, 2023, 12:22 PM - Edit history (1)

It keeps getting posted here as a supposed way to tell respective cable companies to remove Fox News. It’s basically a phishing scam. I unfortunately am a test case — I submitted info at the link that basically went into a black hole to God knows where. That was some time ago. Recently however the link has been posted again. Twice that I’ve seen and been able to warn others but I am sure I missed others. It’s not posted by the same people.


(112,385 posts)
23. Thanks. Still, Sorry to hear that happened.
Mon Apr 24, 2023, 01:48 PM
Apr 2023

When DU was still new, I kicked myself when I realized I gave my first dog’s name AND my hometown street in one post.


(6,587 posts)
26. There's a LOT of posts in the Lounge that ask those questions.
Mon Apr 24, 2023, 02:43 PM
Apr 2023

I learned long ago to not answer ANY of those questions, but DUers answer them, perhaps you could post this there.

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