Police officers warn Facebook users not to answer lockdown ‘getting to know you’ quizzes where they reveal details which can be used by ‘ruthless’ identity thieves, such as pets’ names and their favourite colour

  • An unnamed UK-based police officer shared a viral message last month
  • It warned Facebook users  not to respond to posts asking for information
  • Viral tags can see thousands giving away the name of their first school
  • The information on their pages can be used by hackers to get into accounts 

Facebook users have been warned against taking part in ‘truly awful’ quizzes that ask for personal details, such as the name of your first school and where you live.

A viral message from an unnamed police officer, currently being shared widely on Facebook, is asking people not to take part in ‘get to know each other better’ games on the site while they’re bored during lockdown.  

Questions can include ‘what was your favourite teacher’s name’, ‘what was your first car? and ‘who was your childhood best friend’.

The information can leave people exposed to fraud and identity theft, because the questions are often the same as those asked as security questions for access to bank accounts. 

This Facebook user gave away the town she lives in and places she's been on holiday

This user answered questions that could be those used to offer access to her bank account

The post warned people that by sharing their personal details in ‘fun’ quizzes online (pictured) they could be opening themselves up to scams

The warning, which has been widely shared, read: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to alert my friends on Facebook to please be aware of some of the Facebook posts you comment on especially now while the world seems to be at a standstill. 

‘These posts ask questions such as, “What was your favorite teacher’s name? Who was your 1st grade teacher? Who was your childhood best friend? What was your first car?” etc. 

‘Do these questions sound familiar? They should. These are the same questions you are asked as security questions when setting up bank accounts and credit card accounts.’

It went on to warn people that by posting their personal details in ‘fun’ quizzes online they could be opening themselves up to scams.

Even seemingly innocent posts asking for a person's 45th photo in their phone's camera roll can have geolocation turned on, the message (pictured) revealed

Even seemingly innocent posts asking for a person’s 45th photo in their phone’s camera roll can have geolocation turned on, the message (pictured) revealed

The posts often ask others to ‘copy and paste’ the questions onto their own Facebook status before answering with their own personal details. 

Even seemingly innocent posts asking for a person’s 45th photo in their phone’s camera roll can have geolocation turned on – giving a conman access to exactly where you took the picture.

The post continued: ‘They can then build a profile of you and use this information to hack your accounts or open up new lines of credit in your name. 

‘Not all of these on Facebook are scams. However, it is best to remain vigilant and refrain from participating in such activities as there is no way to tell which ones may have been created by scammers.’

The posts often ask others to 'copy and paste' the questions onto their own Facebook status before answering with their own personal details

The posts often ask others to ‘copy and paste’ the questions onto their own Facebook status before answering with their own personal details

Even the backgrounds of photographs can accidentally give away information like a college degree or a child’s degree.

The writer advised: ‘Look at it from the perspective of a criminal, they’re ruthless and don’t care what’s going on in the world.’

It is likely the number of these types of scams could rise as people have more time on their hands to share such posts.

Ray Walsh, digital privacy expert at ProPivacy, said: ‘Anybody tagged in one of these “just for fun” questionnaires via social media sites like Facebook is reminded that filling in those forms is a truly awful idea.’

Mr Walsh revealed the amount of data social media accounts can hold ‘is staggering’ and can be using by cybercriminals in phishing attacks.

He said: ‘Adding extra data to that treasure trove is asking for serious trouble. Filling in online questionnaires that are specifically designed to extract valuable personal information from users, is a sure-fire way to end up being hacked. 

‘When you’re sat at home, bored from self-isolating, this kind of activity might seem fun.

‘But the reality is that there is a sinister reason behind these questionnaires and internet users need to remember not be tricked into providing information about themselves unnecessarily.’

It comes as the UK goes through its third week of lockdown, with bars and restaurants closed as Britons stay home to avoid spreading coronavirus further and overwhelming the NHS.   

Coronavirus lockdown could start being eased ‘within weeks’, a Cabinet minister said yesterday – as the Treasury pushes for the crippling economic shutdown to end by June.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick suggested the current lockdown measures could be gradually eased after Easter – but stressed a full exit strategy will require much more testing.

There were claims government officials have started drawing up a list of options for removing some restrictions if hospital admissions stay stable.

Senior Tories suggested that there should be a ‘staged opening’ of schools, shops and restaurants if the risks recede to avoid dealing more punishment to firms and workers who have already been left on the brink. 

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