How to spot a fake LinkedIn profile
Well, it's Valentine's Day and love is in the air to quote the song. But sometimes people don't necessarily want to feel that love, especially when it might come from a fake LinkedIn profile. But how do you spot a fake LinkedIn profile as bots and scammers get increasingly sophisticated? Inappropriate contact on LinkedIn seems to go in cycles, but Valentine's Day seems to be a catalyst. They come out in droves. It also seems to be an equal opportunity communication where both men and women report unwelcome contact! Ironically, it's rarely about sexual harassment but about online scams.
Dorothy Dalton's update
Yesterday one of our writers wrote this post on fake LinkedIn profiles for Valentine's day. The day after I received an invitation from a gentleman sans billet doux. I'm clearly not worth the extra effort. It had almost all the red flags highlighted in the post, oil industry, few connections, one job, no content or education plus a little activity in several languages. He had two skills endorsed and his company doesn't seem to exist, rather it has the same name as a religious cult. The photo tracks to a Turkish comedian and the Google reference provided by LinkedIn was easy to follow. He was even wearing a tux! I have inserted some images to help, have reported it and am waiting for a response from LinkedIn. I will update you and add more screen shots.
This post is about so much more than online creeps. This is one example out of three in one week.
Tips to spot a fake LinkedIn profile
- The professional photo has usually been pulled from the internet. It quite often taken from a stock photo or even a real person. You can use an image search tool such as Yandex, TinEye or Google Images with reverse image support to check. There is a link directly on LinkedIn to check the image on Google if you click on it. These individuals are quite often good-looking and seemingly successful in their chosen career. Sometimes they wear uniforms or tuxedos.
2. From my experience, the individual quite often works in oil and gas, maritime or the military, which takes them to far-flung locations and causes them to admire you from afar. I am saying this with apologies to people who genuinely work in these sectors and do not engage in this sort of activity. They rarely are located around the corner.
3. They almost always have very few connections which suggests that it might be the start of a phishing scam.
4. Their profiles are incomplete with no employment or other dates. They maybe have recorded one role spanning their whole career.
5. Education will also seem odd, with a university you have never heard and a one word course. Business. Industry. In the military they will claim a senior rank.
6. You have no connections in common.
7. They will have no or limited skill endorsements or recommendations.
8. You will see no previous or very limited LinkedIn activity.
9. The contact will start with "I know that LinkedIn is a professional networking site but I couldn't help but be taken in by your beauty. You look like a wonderful person." Please take into account that they have sent this mail to possibly hundreds of women and even men. Do not even for a second think it's personal or about you.
10. They might tell you they are widowers or single parents rather than a piece of phishing software. Harden your heart! It's a scam.
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LinkedIn is rich in valuable data
LinkedIn offers Phishers a mass of useful information. Generally people trust LinkedIn because it's a professional network. Business Insider suggests that it's the most trusted of all the social media platforms. Anyone can pay for a Premium account with no background checks around the payment source. This facility gives access to huge levels of enterprise data. The Phisher will harvest information not just about you, but about your company, contacts and even the conversations you are involved in. Spearphishing targets individuals posing as someone who is potentially harmless. Like a love stricken Lieutenant or Oil executive. Although they primarily target the individual's online data they can also attack their computers.
Action to take when contacted by a Fake LinkedIn profile
It's not complicated. Two words. Block and report. If you are already connected - still block and report. If you are not connected, don't connect and then block and report. Disappointed that it's not true love but #TruScam you will get over it!
Find out how to do that here
Fake LinkedIn profiles damage the network but February 14th is the day they come out in full force!
Have a great "Gal" entines Day!
If you need to upgrade your LinkedIn profile to make sure it's fully complete get in touch now!
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