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‘Don’t re-post’: Police warning over Facebook scam

Facebook logo and police sign. Screen shot of the NSW Police Facebook post
NSW Police are warning Aussies not to take part in this online trend (Source: AAP/Getty/NSW Police)

The NSW Police Force have put out a warning to Aussies on Facebook not to partake in a ‘just for fun’ trend making the rounds.

The police said ‘getting to know you better’ posts on social media, where the user reveals personal details such as their favourite colour, first pets name and lucky number among other information, can be used by scammers to hack into personal accounts.

“Limit the amount of private information you share on social media, and don't copy and paste or re-post this type of content,” the police stated in a Facebook post today.

NSW Police also added a clever picture depicting the types of questions often used in the posts with all the answers reading: ‘STOP GIVING PEOPLE YOUR PERSONAL INFO TO GUESS YOUR PASSWORD AND SECURITY QUESTIONS’.

Responses to the police’s post varied, from some people thanking them for bringing attention to the troublesome trend, to others saying people shouldn't be using basic information about themselves for their passwords anyway.

This is not the first time scammers have used Facebook to ask seemingly simple questions that can lead to devastating consequences: an American university professor last year warned about these innocent-looking social media quizzes.

"Never do these,” Dalhousie University professor and cybersecurity expert Nur Zincir-Heywood told CBC last year.

"Maybe they are watching [your] social media in general, they know your location, they know other things about you," she said.

“All of these then put together is a way to collect your information and, in your name, maybe open another account or use your account to buy their own things. It can go really bad.”

In January there were warnings about scammers using Facebook Messenger to contact unsuspecting victims to obtain their mobile number.

The scammer would then access the victims Facebook account and change the details so the victim loses access.

The latest figures from the ACCC show that Australians lost a combined $63.1 million to scams in the first three months of 2021, marking an increase of 73 per cent on the same period in 2020.

Scams are also on the rise this time of year as the end of financial year (EOFY) spurs companies to increase marketing for sales and Aussies turn their attention to lodging their tax returns.

Yahoo Finance was told the things you should look out for at this time of year to spot an EOFY scam.

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