BBB Warns About Sharing Your Senior Photo on Facebook, other Social Media


On Monday, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) cautions everyone on social media to be aware of what they are sharing, even if you think it’s just going to your friends, it could also be going somewhere else.

It seems harmless and fun! A bunch of friends on Facebook or other social media are sharing their senior portraits, including the high school name and graduation year, to support the graduating class of 2020 (most of whom are at home because of the coronavirus pandemic). 

Watch out, scammers or hackers who surf through social media sites will see these #ClassOf2020 posts, and will now have the name of your high school and graduation year, which are common online security questions.

All it takes is an internet search to reveal more information about you, such as family members, your real name, and birth date or even where you live.

Other recent viral personal list posts include all the cars you’ve owned (including makes/model years), favorite athletes, and top 10 favorite television shows.

What most people forget is that some of these “favorite things” are commonly used passwords or security questions. If your social media privacy settings aren’t high, you could be giving valuable information away for anyone to use.

BBB has the following tips to keep you safe on social media:

Resist the temptation to play along. While it’s fun to see other’s posts, if you are uncomfortable participating, it is best to not do it.

Review your security settings. Check your security settings on all social media platforms to see what you are sharing and with whom you are sharing.

Change security questions/settings. If you are nervous about something you shared possibly opening you up to fraud, review and change your security settings for banking and other websites. 

For more information about privacy concerns online, see BBB’s scam alert on Facebook quizzes.

For tips for staying safe online, read BBB’s tips on staying cybersecure.

Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker.

BBB.org (April 2020) BBB Tip: Thinking of sharing your senior photo on Facebook? Think twice!

BBB Warns About Cell Phone Porting Scams

The Better Business Bureau first warned consumers of cell phone porting scams two years ago, but it appears the problem is getting worse.


Did you know that with a few easy steps someone could steal your phone number and phone service? 

The Better Business Bureau first warned consumers of cell phone porting scams two years ago, but it appears the problem is getting worse.

According to a CBC article, a farm family in Sasketchewan lost hundreds of thousands of dollars when a cell phone was stolen and their business bank account was emptied. This scam is another way for scammers to steal your hard earned money, and even your identity.

The scariest part is that this type of scam, called porting or port-out scamming, is that it can help scammers get past added security measures on personal and financial accounts and logins.

To put it another way, think of how many times you have set up an email address, social networking, or logged onto your bank account online or had to change your password. How many times did you have to verify your identity by being sent a code via text message? Now what if you weren’t the only one who was reading that message? This new type of scam absolutely could bypass that layer of security and has a huge potential for your identity to be stolen faster than you think.

Luckily you can protect yourself and your Better Business Bureau® is here to help you identify and protect yourself.

What is a cell phone porting or port-out scam?

A scammer finds out your name and phone number and then attempts to gather as much personal identifiable information (PII) as possible about you. PII includes name, address, Social Security number (Social Insurance number in Canada), date of birth, and other information that can be used for identity theft.  They then will contact your mobile provider, impersonating you, and inform them that your phone was stolen and request the number be “ported” with another provider and device.  In some cases, if they were really brave and in a retail location and/or online, they might even try to buy a new phone which could make a sales representative incentivized to quickly fulfill their request and forgo some formal verification procedures.  

The scariest part?  Once they have your number ported to a new device they can then start accessing and gaining entry to accounts that require additional authorization in terms of a code texted directly to your phone for security verification.  Those added security measures are usually in place on accounts provided by email providers, social networks, tax preparation software, and even financial institutions

BBB offers these tips to help protect you from this specific type of scam:

  • Inquire with your wireless provider about port-out authorization.  Every major wireless has some sort of additional security for accounts or for port-out authorization that customers can set up, like a unique pin, or add verification question, which will make it more difficult for someone to port-out your phone.  Contact your mobile provider and speak to them specifically about porting and/or port out security on your account.
  • Watch out for unexpected “Emergency Calls Only” status.  Call your mobile phone company if your phone suddenly switches to “emergency call service only” or something similar. That’s what happens when your phone number has been transferred to another phone.  
  • Be vigilant in about communications you receive.  Watch out for phishing attempts, alert messages from financial institutions, texts in response to two-factor authorization requests.

For more tips on how to protect your personal information and guard yourself against identity theft click here.

If you’ve fallen victim to this type of scam, alert your mobile provider, financial institutions and take the standard steps to combat identity theft.

Also, BBB encourages you to file a report on BBB ScamTracker and be a hero to your community by warning others.

BBB.org (February, 2020) BBB Warns About Cell Phone Porting Scams

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