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5 LinkedIn Scams and How to Avoid Them

Cristina POPOV

March 08, 2024

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5 LinkedIn Scams and How to Avoid Them

With over 1 billion members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, LinkedIn has become an incredibly valuable tool for career development, recruiting, and business opportunities. However, its immense popularity has also made it an attractive target for cybercriminals looking to exploit unsuspecting users.

From fake job offers to intricate phishing schemes, LinkedIn scams have been on the rise in recent years.

Whether you're an active job seeker, a seasoned professional, or a business owner leveraging LinkedIn for networking and growth, be aware of these scams, recognize them, and avoid them to use the platform safely.

1. LinkedIn Email Phishing Scams

One common tactic cybercriminals use to exploit LinkedIn's professional network is through phishing scams – with malicious actors reaching out using fake profiles. These LinkedIn phishers often send targets a link masquerading as a legitimate company website or document, cunningly designed to steal sensitive information or install malware on the victim's browser.

For instance, you might receive an email urging you to verify your LinkedIn account. When you click the provided link, you're redirected to a counterfeit LinkedIn login page. If you enter your credentials, you've granted the scammers access to your account. Consequently, you may notice unauthorized activities, such as suspicious messages sent to your connections and unauthorized profile modifications.

2. LinkedIn Fake Recruiter Scams

In this scam, cybercriminals create fake LinkedIn companies or individual profiles and reach out to people with fabricated job opportunities. To make their scam more convincing, they often use information from legitimate companies and have a vast network of connections, making it difficult to distinguish them from genuine recruiters.

After connecting with victims, the fake recruiters present them with job offers and move them through the interview process before offering them the position. Once the person has accepted the role, the scammers request payments or sensitive information, such as bank account details and social security numbers, claiming it is necessary for the hiring process.

3. LinkedIn Romance Scams

LinkedIn, a professional networking platform, is not immune to the dangers of romance scams. Scammers can be even more effective on LinkedIn as they strike when people least expect, making their schemes seem genuine. They create fake profiles using attractive photos and fabricated personal stories. They randomly connect with people and start conversations about personal lives, then try to move discussions to other platforms. Once they have the victim's trust, scammers will request money.

Roger A Grimes, a columnist at CSO Online was targeted by a romance scammer on LinkedIn claiming to be a student at Ohio Dominican University. You can read about his experience here.

4. LinkedIn Chinese Pig Butchering Scams

The "pig butchering" fraud is an investment scam where cryptocurrency is used to steal from individuals. It often starts with a stranger requesting to connect and then gaining the victim's trust. When they feel the moment is right, scammers will recommend an investment platform/app and persuade victims to start their own crypto wallet and invest. At first, a small amount of money is invested, for which they get quick returns. After a person is convinced of the app's legitimacy, the fraudster will persuade them to invest more money by borrowing or taking out a loan, praising them, and encouraging them to keep going.

When scammers realize the victim has exhausted all their funds on the investment, they disappear with the money.

5. LinkedIn Technical Support Scams

Scammers monitor discussions and groups related to software or technical issues. Then, they pose as LinkedIn legitimate tech support and contact people to offer to solve their LinkedIn account issues. They usually reach out via email, and their motive is to trick victims into revealing sensitive login credentials or installing malware under the guise of troubleshooting tools.

How to Identify a Scam on LinkedIn

Here are some tips for identifying fake profiles and red flags on the app:

1. Be careful when accepting new connection requests. When you receive a message from a new connection, watch out for warning signs such as generic job offers, links or requests for personal information.

2. Check the details. Even if a profile looks legitimate, it's worth checking for inconsistencies in the person's professional and educational histories. Follow links to other social profiles to verify the information or google search them.

3. Monitor activity. Scammers are less likely to engage with other accounts, so if a profile seems inactive and cut off from the rest of the LinkedIn community, it's probably fake.

4. Is it too good to be true? If a job offer or opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is. Approach all job offers with caution, and make sure you research the recruiter before moving forward.

5. Use Bitdefender Scamio, an AI scam detector, to identify scams and scammers.

Scamio is available for free on any device or operating system via your web browser or Facebook Messenger. Simply provide a description of the scam, upload an image if necessary, and send a link or text. Scamio will analyze the information and let you know whether it's a scam. You don't need to download any app or have a Bitdefender product to use Scamio.

While LinkedIn can be an invaluable resource for professional networking and career growth, it's crucial to remain vigilant against scammers' ever-evolving tactics. You can navigate the platform safely and securely by being aware of these common scams, scrutinizing profiles and opportunities, and exercising caution when sharing personal or financial information.



Cristina POPOV

Cristina is a freelance writer and a mother of two living in Denmark. Her 15 years experience in communication includes developing content for tv, online, mobile apps, and a chatbot.

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