Facebook royal wedding quiz could put you at risk for identity theft

Elizabeth Weise
Masks of Prince Harry and his fiance, US actress Meghan Markle sit in the window of a gift shop on May 10, 2018 in Windsor, England.
Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO — A funny as Lord Carpenter Rover of Sunnyside might sound, please don't reply to a Facebook prompt asking you to create your royal wedding guest name using details from your past.

Facebook is always awash in sharable quizzes and prompts (remember 'Tell us your first 10 rock concerts' last year?) and this week's suggestion inspired by the pending wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry is no different. But it also puts you in real danger of identity theft.

It sounds innocuous enough. Much as other, more adult, prompts have asked users to create and forward along their "porn star" name, this one helps you craft an aristocratic title from seemingly innocuous items from your family and your past.

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"In honor of the royal wedding," it reads, "use your royal wedding guest name this week. Start with either Lord or Lady. Your first name is one of your grandparents' names. Your surname is the name of your first pet, then "of" followed by the name of the street you grew up on. Just for fun, let's do this! Post below. Then cut and paste it into your status."

It's all fun and games until somebody gets hacked, which is why you're more than welcome to say the name aloud and giggle, but by no means should you cut and paste into your status.


Because your peerage name is an excellent hunting ground for any and all hackers looking to harvest the answers to those pesky online security questions more and more sites make you come up with.

First Pet? Mother's maiden name? The street you grew up on?

All very common security questions and all exactly the information you don't want to be publicly posting.

We don't know who started this particular meme making the rounds or whether they had the best, or the worst, intentions.

It doesn't really matter. Once you post those answers, you should assume that every hacking group worth its salt will find and index them quicker than Harry and Meghan can say "I do." This material is key to getting inside your online accounts.

The best response to online quizzes, at least when it comes to posting the answers, is "just say no." The same goes for shared, anonymously sourced quizzes on favorite books, musical styles, concerts, flowers and pretty much anything else that could be used against you.

Sorry to be a party pooper but it's the world we live in.