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You need to be careful with these social media trends, FBI Pittsburgh warns

PITTSBURGH — Be careful what information you share on social media. That’s the warning from FBI Pittsburgh, as a number of trending social media topics can lead to fraud.

While they might seem like fun games, they can reveal answers to common password retrieval security questions, according to the FBI. Fraudsters then use that information to reset account passwords and gain access.

Examples of things the FBI wants you to be careful of are posting high school photos in support of the Class of 2020, posting pictures of your first car, answering questions about your best friend and providing the name of your first pet, as well as identifying your first concert, favorite restaurant or favorite teacher. Tagging your mother is also advised against because it could reveal a maiden name.

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When it comes to concerns over the high school photo trend, people often include the name of their schools, mascots and graduation years. All three of those pieces of information are common password retrieval security questions.

The FBI wants people to check their security settings and enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication, when available.

There are three categories of credentials: something you know, something you have and something you are. FBI Pittsburgh provided the following

  • “Something you know” is your password or a set PIN you use to access an account. The PIN does not typically change.
  • “Something you have” is a security token or app that provides a randomly generated number that rotates frequently. The token provider confirms that you—and only you—know that number. “Something you have” can include verification texts, emails or calls that you must respond to before accessing an account.
  • “Something you are” includes fingerprints, facial recognition or voice recognition. This category of credentialing sounds a bit unnerving—but think about how you unlocked your smartphone this morning. You probably have used your fingerprints or face several times today just to check your email.

Cyber fraud can be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at

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