Social media quizzes can provide important info to cyber criminals

Social media quizzes can provide important info to cyber criminals
(Source: Flickr/Christoph Scholz)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Cyber experts are seeing a rise in COVID-19 scams.

Now more than ever, people are using the internet to work, learn and stay connected. Providing criminals more opportunities for cyber-attacks.

Hackers want your data; from Social Security numbers to diplomas. Every piece of your information has a price tag.

And some people are giving it away without even knowing.

Think of it as a shopping list for cyber criminals. $1 can get you a Social Security number. $20 for a driver’s license.

Even credit card numbers and diplomas have a price. Every piece of information that makes you, you, is worth something on the Dark Web.

“There’s a whole other world on the dark Web and the black market of people in buying and selling records that have been exposed,” Cyber Security Solutions Vice President Zach Hodges said.

Cyber Security Solutions is a business housed in the Georgia Cyber Center in Augusta, Ga. Where state, federal, private businesses and schools all work on the cyber security front. It's the only one of its kind the nation.

Hodges’ company specializes in protecting customer data for businesses. He said they started seeing a rise in scams in the beginning of the year in the form of social media surveys.

“You always want to be careful on the information you share and the information you give to others. It’s going to be awkward for a stranger to come up to you and ask, ‘hey, what was the make and color of the first car you owned?’ But you’ll share that on Facebook in a heartbeat,” Hodges said.

Think back to the last online account you opened. Do you remember answering questions like, what was your high school mascot? Or, the name of your best friend when you were a kid?

Those are the answers you use if you forgot your password. They're also the same type of questions on seemingly innocent surveys on social media.

“A lot of questions that basically give hackers and others a key to the front door. And it’s kind of scary to see that happening and unfortunate that people take advantage of a period like this. They hack into that emotional mindset,” Hodges said.

Criminals are also targeting struggling businesses applying for PPP loans. Hackers will send emails pretending to be a real bank. Hoping business bite.

It can be as simple as replacing the letter “m” with two letters “rn.”

“So, you can click, quick glance at that E-mail when it comes to your inbox, you don’t even realize it’s from someone different,” Hodges said.

He recommends calling the bank before giving out any information. Ask them about the program that's being offered and get more details.

Something we don't think about often is the personal information we give to local businesses like dentists and doctors and even local governments.

If you want to know what the going rate is for your identity, please click here. The estimated prices identity thieves might pay for your information, everything from passwords for streaming services to passports, is available.

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