FBI San Francisco
San Francisco Media Office
April 23, 2020

FBI Warns Popular Social Media Trends Can Lead to Fraud

SAN FRANCISCO—The FBI San Francisco Division warns social media users to be cautious when sharing information online. Many trending social media topics that seem like fun games can reveal answers to common password retrieval security questions. Fraudsters can leverage this personal information to reset account passwords and gain access to user data and accounts.

The high school support photo trend encourages users to post their high school photo to support the class of 2020. Many people include the name of their schools, mascots, and graduation years, which are also often answers to common password retrieval security questions. Other examples include posting a picture of your first car; answering questions about your best friend; providing the name of your first pet; identifying your first concert, favorite restaurant, or favorite teacher; and tagging your mother, which may reveal her maiden name.

The FBI encourages vigilance and careful consideration of sharing too much personal information online. Social media users should check both their privacy and security settings to reduce vulnerability. The FBI recommends enabling two-factor or multi-factor authentication when available, especially when accessing sensitive personal data such as primary email accounts, financial information, and health records. The FBI urges potential victims to report cyber fraud to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov