LinkedIn is a great social media platform for professional interaction and growth. Networking has now become easier than ever, and many users find themselves making authentic occupational connections through the platform.
Unfortunately, like all social media, LinkedIn has its fair share of hackers and scammers. With your personal information (and a lot more) on the line, slipping up with these phishers isn’t an option!
1. Do background checks
One technique scammers frequently use is hiding behind fake profiles. Thus, it’s essential for you to inspect every profile – even of people you know – that wants to connect with you before accepting their request.
Scammers can be hard to distinguish, so how can you tell if a profile is fake? The main elements you should examine closely are:
- Names – scammers tend to use more common names like Jane or Joe to appear less suspicious
- Profile pictures – look for profiles with no pictures, low-quality pictures, or ones of other people
- Connections – fake profiles typically have few connections, and the ones they do aren’t credible
- Employment information – research their workplace to confirm its validity and check whether their employment experience is chronological and realistic
- Spelling/grammar – spelling and grammatical errors can also indicate a fake profile as real users take care in creating a polished, error-free profile
- Profile development – be suspicious of brief profiles with missing/limited personal information
As you inspect a profile wanting to connect with you, it’s important that you take all of these signs into consideration in order to gather as much evidence as possible.
But, a scammer is a scammer! In other words, scamming clearly works, so any one of these red flags should always be taken seriously.
Once you accept a request, your new connection has access to all of the information on your profile. If you mistakenly accept a scammer’s request, you could potentially face some dire consequences such as identity theft!
2. Don’t give away personal information
Another tactic scammers use is deceiving people into giving their personal information. A common way they do this is through fraudulent emails.
You might encounter scam emails that:
- Ask you to confirm personal information by opening a link or attachment
- Ask you to download a software or other programs
- Urgently request account information to reset your password
- Claim your account will be blocked or deactivated and requires personal information
- Invite you to connect with groups and other LinkedIn users if you click “accept”
- Appear to be sent by the LinkedIn team but aren’t identical in format
If you do click on any link from a LinkedIn email, be certain that the page it redirects you to has the LinkedIn domain. Don’t enter any personal information on this page if it doesn’t.
The main point is: anybody or any site asking for anything beyond your email address is a scam!
3. Inspect email addresses
Reviewing the content of emails can expose inauthentic profiles, but a sender’s email address can also easily give away a fake profile and help you avoid LinkedIn scams.
Double check the sender address of any email that claims to be sent from LinkedIn and confirm that this is accurate. See if it has the LinkedIn domain, and treat it as spam if it doesn’t.
4. Look over messages carefully
Pay close attention to any messages you receive from other profiles, especially those you don’t know.
Spelling and grammatical errors, as mentioned previously, are signs of a fake profile. Keep an eye out for these slip-ups in any direct messages you receive in addition to their profile information.
You should also be observant of logos, graphics, text fonts, and other features of the message’s layout. Messages with logos or graphics from fake profiles typically are inconsistent, unofficial, and amateur-looking.
Messages from authentic accounts or the LinkedIn team look professional, meaning their text fonts and colors are generally consistent throughout and easy to read. Unconventional font types, sizes, and colors can hint at a phony profile.
5. Be skeptical of “easy” money
Always take note when a profile offers you a job with high pay and easy work. LinkedIn scammers are known to entice users by ensuring they can work from anywhere with internet connection with a credible and legitimate high-end company.
There are multiple job offers that are known to be used by scammers. “Financial Coordinator” is one common job position scammers present to LinkedIn users, in which they claim you’ll be collecting debts and keeping 10% while the scammer takes 90%.
In reality, the “employee” is paid in fake checks that will bounce back, and the scammer disappears with the money.
Many of these profiles call themselves “job recruiters,” so you’ll want to throw out any requests, emails, or other methods of contact from them. All in all, if a job offer seems too good to be true, it probably is!
LinkedIn is very beneficial for those searching for professional opportunities and wanting to grow their networks. Although, this means there’s more at stake when it comes to scammers and hackers who infiltrate the platform.
Fortunately, you can rest easy now that you know the ins and outs of how to avoid the most common LinkedIn scams!
In Summation, here is the quick checklist:
- Do background checks
- Don’t give away personal information.
- Inspect email addresses.
- Look over messages carefully.
- Be skeptical of “easy” money.