I was scrolling through a social media site this week and was struck by how many requests I noticed that asked people to respond to questions regarding their biographical information. For example, what was the number one album when you were a senior in high school? What was your favorite beach or park when you were growing up? Where was your first job? What month is your birthday?
These types of questions are popular on social media because they are designed to generate interaction and engagement, potentially increasing followers. While some requests for such information may be done just to engage followers in interesting dialogue, these types of questions and responses also give data miners and others the opportunity to collect, analyze, and use our data for a variety of purposes, including advertising.
When you answer these types of questions on social media, you are disclosing key personal information, which, when compiled with other public information, creates a data profile that could be useful for scammers. Responding to requests for tidbits of personal information on social media may seem harmless, but keep in mind that every piece of your data that’s on the internet also increases the ability of hackers to steal your identity.