Learning Center

Hi, I'm Mark, the host of SAFE Cents! Welcome to our Learning Center, a place where you can improve your financial health.

Online Quizzes: Innocent Fun or a Scammer's Trap?

Blog Post
2 min read
woman at a laptop with question marks on both sides of her

Unlike high school or college quizzes, the ones in your social media feed are much shorter and don’t require you to cram all night. Instead, questions are often about preferences or topics you know well, such as your favorite food, high school mascot, or childhood nickname. While you’ll surely ace these simple questions, it’s a fraudster who’ll feel the sense of accomplishment when they succeed at the online quiz scam.

What Is an Online Quiz Scam?

An online quiz scam is a type of phishing scheme that uses fake personality tests, short surveys, and easy quizzes to gather answers to common online account security questions, such as:

  • In what city were you born?
  • What was your high school mascot?
  • What was your nickname in grade school?
  • What was your favorite food as a teenager?

Criminals know financial institutions typically require this information to verify your identity before making account changes or providing access to a locked account. Once the crook has this sensitive information, they’re one step closer to emptying your bank account.

Online Quiz Scam Red Flags

This deceptive scheme may seem like a harmless way to share your views on entertaining subjects and see where your responses rank. However, many people are deceived by the simplicity of this scam. It takes less than a minute to unknowingly share sensitive data with a nefarious actor. Stay alert to these warning signs:

  • There are no correct answers to the quiz.
  • No reason is given for collecting the information.
  • Questions sound like the ones you use on your financial accounts.

Protect Yourself From Online Quiz Scams

Responding to a few online questions might seem like a carefree way to pass the time, but sharing personal information puts you at risk since scammers can use the answers to reset the passwords on financial accounts. For extra credit, these bad actors hack social media profiles and send malicious links to pointless surveys and quizzes, like “Who’s Your Celebrity Best Friend?” or “What Color Is Your Aura?” to everyone in the user’s contact list.

You can protect yourself from this growing scam by:

  • Using a password manager to create strong passwords for each account.
  • Refusing to input any information when you’re unfamiliar with the source.
  • Denying friend requests from people you do not know, since crooks will use this as another way to send you the phony quiz.
  • Signing up for multifactor authentication which adds another layer of security to online accounts.

If you suspect an online survey, personality test, or quiz is really a phishing scam, do not answer the questions. Instead, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).