Warning! Those Facebook quizzes and "what would you look like" apps are in it for your personal info

App could be mining your page for personal information

Want to know what you'd look like as the opposite sex or as a movie star? Want to know which Disney character you're most like? Those quizzes and apps on Facebook may be free, but you still could pay a price. They could be mining your profile for personal information, either to sell to advertisers or even worse, to try to steal your identity.

If you spend any time at all on Facebook, you've probably taken one of these quizzes or you've seen the results shared by a friend. And while they may pique your curiosity, you need to know what you may be giving up.

Most of these types of apps want information about you to sell to third-party advertisers. They usually use cookies to determine your interests so they can feed ads to you. When you agree to connect with the app, you're usually agreeing to share information from your profile, including your friends list and pages you've liked.

But there are some quizzes that may have more sinister intentions. You may not think much about answering a quiz about your favorite animal or color, or where you grew up, but some of those quizzes are asking the very questions that could be used to steal your identity. While they can't access your password, as some hoax warnings have claimed, they may be able to figure it out if you've given them enough information. They could also embed links in the quizzes that could be used to hijack your social media account.

So whether you're curious what quote sums up your attitude on life, who's been your best friend this year, or what your IQ is, you may want to heed this advice from the Better Business Bureau.

Tips to avoid an online quiz scam:

  • Be skeptical: Before you take a quiz, figure out who created it. Is it a brand you trust?
  • Adjust privacy settings: Review your social media account’s privacy settings and be strict about what information you share.
  • Remove personal details from your profile: Don’t share information like your phone number or home address on Facebook or other accounts. 
  • Don't accept friend requests from people you don’t know. 

You can usually look up the privacy policies or terms of service for the more reputable apps. Read them so you know what you're giving the app access to.

And if you've already been suckered into the gamut of games, you can try to reclaim some of your privacy. 

  • Contact the site and ask them to remove your name from any lists they share with third parties. 
  • Go here to opt out of some interest-based advertising.
  • Clear your web browser's cache, cookies and browsing history.
  • Delete the apps from your Facebook profile. Here's how:

From your smart phone, open your Facebook app and then tap the menu icon at the bottom right of your screen. Scroll down to "Settings." Tap it and choose "Account Settings" from the menu. Scroll down to "Apps" and click on it. Then, choose "Logged in with Facebook." That's where you'll find  all of the apps that are paired with your Facebook log-in. You can click on each one to see what you've allowed the app to access.  Scroll down to "Remove App" if you'd like to delete it. 

About the Author: