Coronavirus quiz data harvesting spreads through social media

A series of 'COVID-19 Quizzes' spreading on social media. The quizzes claim to test public knowledge about the coronavirus pandemic

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has received intelligence about a series of ‘COVID-19 Quizzes’ spreading on social media. The quizzes claim to test public knowledge about the coronavirus pandemic; however, most of the questions are unrelated to it.

Many of the questions are about personal data, such as maiden names, family information, pets and contact details, including email addresses and telephone numbers.

The quizzes bear all the hallmarks of a data harvesting operation, which could lead to financial fraud and identity theft.

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said

The general public should be wary of online quizzes, especially those themed around the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Many of them ask personal questions which may seem harmless at first, such as pet names; however, scammers can harvest this data to create a full profile of the target.

Security questions for bank accounts and online passwords usually incorporate this kind of information. The public should remember that each little tidbit of information shared online is available to fraudsters to pick up and assemble into a target profile.

My advice is – think about what you are putting online, and who could potentially see this information. Over time this adds up, and you may find that you have placed much more information about yourself online than you first thought.

CTSI Chief Executive, Leon Livermore, added

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in all kinds of scams, ranging from the doorstep to email, telephone and social media and everyone should be extra cautious of what they communicate online at this unprecedented time.

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