I love LinkedIn.
I think it's one of the best things that happened to me, finding out about it 4 years ago. It's kind of like the pillow that you buy for 4 years, but can't seem to get rid off, even though your brain is nagging at you to dump it in the trash since year 1 and get a new one.
I change my pillow often, by the way. *wink*
Although 4 years have passed, with me gaining over 9,800 followers/connections, I love the fact that I am constantly communicating, and connecting with new individuals every single day.
But that doesn't mean that I haven't met my fair share of the other side of this beautiful platform.
They're what I like to call the "dark side of LinkedIn."
And if you're an avid user of LinkedIn, you must know what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about scams. Yes, they do happen here. A lot of them, actually.
And in my personal mission to create the best content on Earth and lead the next wave of content creators, I felt that this post was necessary to help you understand some of the scams going around LinkedIn, and what you can do to avoid them.
In this article, you'll learn the most common scams on LinkedIn, how to spot a scam, and prevent yourself from sending dollars to a Nigerian Prince.
Scam #1: Scam Targeting Marketing, HR, and Business industries
This scam is also known as a 419 scam, made famous by a collection of 419 techniques that this site lists out quite definitively.
Have you fallen victim to this?
The first example that we are going to cover is a message sent by a supposed CEO of a petrochemicals company in Kuwait.
It was first uncovered by antivirus software firm BitDefender, and is angled around sending emails and solicitations to LinkedIn users asking them to remit money over to secure their children's inheritance.
These scam artists are known to pitch (they need a better copywriter, in my opinion) a proposal to users, telling a story about them needing to find a partner to relocate and transfer some funds.
If anyone replies to this email, the scam artists will basically ask for money in exchange for the "investment" and "healthy partnership"; and of course, if you don't do your homework well enough, you just lost your moolah.
Actionable Steps: 1. Take a look at the email address that the sender attaches inhis/her message. Is the domain name (the letters after the @) the officalone of the company that the sender claims to represent?Often times, scammers use an email address that closely resembles theofficial address. Of course, now that you've read this guide, you'll know better.2. Does the sender even make sense by contacting a random stranger toask for information orfor money? Why, of all 7 billion people on Earth would he/she choose you?3.Is the address he/she sent valid? In the example shown above, the POBox ends with4 digits - that closely resembles the actual company's address, but is not the real one.
Scam #2: False (Paying) Job Offers
Scam number 2 sounds more legitimate than the first one, but is actually a scam.
This scam involves users receiving a LinkedIn message from someone claiming to be a job recruiter. (gasp)
They might attach a few details promising a high-paying, high flying career which can be easily done anywhere.
Of course, there are some figures thrown around in the email - in this case, 2,000 USD every month.
As an added bonus (this should be an immediate red flag, by the way), the email promises to be legitimate.
Of course, take part in the survey or job all you want, but chances are - there won't be any paycheck at the end of the rainbow.
Here's what Irene, a professional working from home had to say about this scam, when she unknowingly fell into the trap.
“The sales manager contacted me through my LinkedIn profile and the owner interviewed and hired me,” she told FlexJobs. “It was all outbound calling. I worked for them for three weeks and two days, and out of the blue got a phone call they decided to ‘go in a different direction’ and said they would send my paycheck. It never arrived.”
Actionable Steps: 1. Companies seldom hire just based on LinkedIn messages. If they do, then they need to get their head checked.2. Similarly, you shouldn't trust any company that requires onlyinterviews to be conducted message - unless you are a freelancer, or you already have an online business with order processes inbuilt.3. Be sure to read up as thoroughly as you can about the company's background, as well as the sender's background when you get an offer like this. If you see gibberish on their profile, chances are,the offer is gibberish, too.
SCAM #3: Weird Contact Requests
Ladies are more likely to be the target for this scam, though men will have their fair share as well.
This scam includes a invitation to connect, along with a invitation that looks like this:
Although the flattering message that you see may make you blush - remember that LinkedIn is a professional network - if anyone is flattering you, you jolly well run away to Tinder.
According to job recruiter Alison Doyle from About Careers, the invitation to connect with such messages usually is attached with a link inviting the user to either visit their LinkedIn inbox or to automatically accept the invitation.
Once you click on this link, you will be redirected to another page that downloads malicious software like the data phishing ZeuS malware to your computer.
1. Remember that LinkedIn is a professional network, not a dating site.2. When someone comes up to you with a message to connect, it shouldalways fulfil the following criteria: - Does the sender have a profile that is complete and believable?- Does the sender mention why he/she wants to connect with you?- Do you have any mutual connections with the sender?
Scam #4: Romance is not in the air
Recently, there have been calls of the hashtag #RIPLinkedIn, and they arose because of users abusing LinkedIn to post pictures of their dogs, bodily functions, and also -- Romance messages.
Now, before you get all soft on the inside, this is a scam.
Alexandra Cain ofThe Sydney Morning Heraldrecallsreceiving a fake romantic missive in her LinkedIn inbox a few years ago. The message read as follows:
“I was surfing through when i came across your sweet profile, i must confess you sure do have a lovely and interesting page on here, have you been lucky to meet someone special on here? Have a blessed evening, hope to hear from you soon.”
Once you communicate with these kinds of messages, they essentially aim to get your email address, and store it for future spam advertising, or worse, sell your data off.
Actionable Steps: Next time you see such a message on LinkedIn with a from a charmingprince or beautiful lady, ask yourself this:
1. Is he/she beautiful? (Kidding, kidding)2. Does the message at least have your name in it?3. Does the sender look legitimate?4. Does the sender keep requesting for your personal information?
Scam #5: Phishing Scam
This scam comes across the board as one of the latest scams happening on LinkedIn right now.
The scam is masked as an update from LinkedIn, and basically goes like this:
Subject Line: Linkedin Update
Dear Linkedin User,
Due to the recent upgrade in linkedin you have to upgrade your account to keep using linkedin or your account will be terminated.
In order to login click the link below
http://trivialsalgad.....to login and wait for responds from linkedin.
We apologies for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.
The purpose of this email is to get you to click on the link that they have mentioned, and to enter your personal details into the site.
Scammers will then take this information, such as your:
- Birth date
- Social security number
- Financial information (credit card/bank account number)
and conduct identity theft or other fraudulent schemes.
Actionable Steps: 1. Is the email really from LinkedIn? What's the email domain?2. Is the email personalised? If they are truly from LinkedIn, theyshould at least have your first name right.3. Is the subject line clear? Does it have a ticket number?4. Does the email threaten you in anyway with fear or intimidation? For example, does it say that if you don't click on this link, your account will be banned or interrupted?5. Does the email have good grammar? (seriously though, scammerscould use better copywriters)
Scam #7: Dubious Job Openings
The next time you read a job opening position on LinkedIn, you might want to read the fine print:
What's wrong with it, you ask? Still don't see it?
The sender already stated:
For no reason than to accumulate many comments and likes as I wasn't hugged enough as a child.
Seriously, guys. If you didn't see that, I guess that explains why over 3,000 people didn't see it either.
Actionable Steps: 1. The next time you read about a job opening, think about why is it not hosted on the official LinkedIn Jobs portal.2. Is there any further explanation about the job role? Or is it just a very generic description of the job that you will be "applying for"?3. Is there any procedure to take after reading the posting, that the sender has mentioned? Is it a professional procedure?
Scam #8: WhatsApp Lovers
Till today, I still do not understand why there is a need for a WhatsApp group to be created when you already have the biggest network of professionals on the planet, with 40% of them engaging daily on the platform.
Sadly, many still fall for this scam, with the promise of a job offer in exchange:
This scam led to over 2,400 contact numbers being traded openly. Bad idea.
These numbers can then be used for phishing scams, spam calls, and repackaged to be sold off to phone marketing companies that can make your life a miserable one with ads 24/7.
How many people cared enough to read the complete post as depicted in the above photo? Not a lot, apparently.
For your information, WhatsApp accepts only 100 members in a group at any given point in time, so the other 2,200 members are sending their numbers in vain, anyways.
Actionable Steps: 1. The next time you see a request for your contact details so thatthe Recruiter can place you in a WhatsApp group, find out why.Send him/her a personal message if you are uncertain.2. Be wary when anyone tries to obtain your phone number - this is thebest way to reach anyone - in order words, its a goldmine for scam artists. Don't fall for this.
Whew, at the end of the day, this question repeatedly pops up in my head, as I'm sure it will to you.
Will these scams every fade off?
Sadly, I don't think so. Unless LinkedIn goes on a rampage like Instagram and declares war on these mock accounts, it is an uphill battle.
Nevertheless, these are still some measures that you can do to protect yourself in general from becoming an unfortunate victim:
- Don't ever throw your resumes around the Internet. Yes, you might be desperate for work, but you don't want your phone bill to explode from random calls either. Send your resumes selectively, and be clear about who you are sending it to.
- When you are applying for work on LinkedIn, always make sure to work with official job boards like the LinkedIn Job Portal, or offical InMails from verified accounts.
- There's just some connection and link to scams and bad copywriting. So, the next time, thoroughly scan through the email, and find out if there are any blatant grammatical errors, or if the email is vaguely expressed.
Are there any other scams that you have fallen prey to? Share your story below, and share this article with anyone who you think might benefit from reading this!
I read every comment.
Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.What to do if you know the person who scammed you? ›
Report the scam to the FTC online, or by phone at 1-877-382-4357 (9:00 AM - 8:00 PM, ET). The FTC accepts complaints about most scams, including these popular ones: Phone calls. Emails.What are the signs of someone scamming you? ›
- Scammers Want. You To Wire Money. You may be asked to wire money or purchase pre-paid debit cards. ...
- Scammers Tell. You To Keep It “Secret” ...
- Scammers Make. It Sound Too Good To Be True. ...
- Scammers Contact. You “Out Of The Blue” ...
- Scammers Claim. There Is An “Emergency” ...
- Scammers Ask. For Your Personal Information.
Scammers hack email accounts so they can send phony messages from a trusted email address in hopes of getting the recipients to act. The goal could be to get these email contacts to send money, turn over personal information, or click a link that installs malware, spyware, or a virus on a device.Can a bank account be tracked? ›
Yes you can trace someone through his/her bank details, as long as the account is operational and active. However, there is a doctrine of confidentiality which the financial institution is bound to obey.Will the bank refund me if I get scammed? ›
If you paid by bank transfer or Direct Debit
Contact your bank immediately to let them know what's happened and ask if you can get a refund. Most banks should reimburse you if you've transferred money to someone because of a scam.
Once a scammer has a phone number, its not difficult for them to use that information to look up the related address and other information. This is why it isn't recommended to take them on. Instead, hang up and report them to the proper authorities.What can a scammer do with my phone number? ›
- Rerouting your messages.
- Stealing your personal information.
- SIM swaps.
- Text scams and spyware.
- Doxxing that leads to harassment and fraud.
- Blackmail using your sensitive data.
- Spoofing caller ID numbers.
- Preying on your family.
Steal your identity
The risk increases, however, when scammers have your password as well. If they're able to log in to your email account and dig through your inbox, it's possible for them to learn enough about you to steal your identity.
If someone steals your phone number, they become you — for all intents and purposes. With your phone number, a hacker can start hijacking your accounts one by one by having a password reset sent to your phone. They can trick automated systems — like your bank — into thinking they're you when you call customer service.
Mine your private data
The information found through these sites includes your address, bankruptcies, criminal records, and family members' names and addresses. All of this can be used for blackmail, stalking, doxxing, social media hacking, or identity theft.
- Small unexplained payments.
- Unexpected notifications from your bank.
- A call claiming to be your bank demands information.
- Large transactions empty your bank account.
- You learn your account has been closed.
The recommended amount of cash to keep in savings for emergencies is three to six months' worth of living expenses. How much money do experts recommend keeping in your checking account? It's a good idea to keep one to two months' worth of living expenses plus a 30% buffer in your checking account.Do fraudsters ever get caught? ›
Exclusive: more than 96% of reported fraud cases go unsolved - Which? News.How can I recover money from a scammer? ›
Contact the company or bank that issued the credit card or debit card. Tell them it was a fraudulent charge. Ask them to reverse the transaction and give you your money back.What to do if you ordered something from a fake website? ›
If you see a scam, or want to report a problem about online shopping, please tell the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint.What do I do if someone has my Social Security number? ›
If you believe a thief is using your Social Security number to work or claim Social Security benefits, call the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. Or report Social Security benefits fraud online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report/.What is Robo Revenge? ›
A service called Robo Revenge, which is included in an iPhone app called DoNotPay, helps you to file a lawsuit against robocallers and trick them into revealing the source of unwanted calls. The app was created to create automatic appeals to get out of parking tickets.Can you cuss out telemarketers? ›
There is no law against talking dirty to or cussing at a telemarketer who calls you. And obviously, there is no law against wasting someone's time on the phone, unless it is a government official or emergency worker.Will Medicare call you at home? ›
Remember that Medicare will never call you to sell you anything or visit you at your home. Medicare, or someone representing Medicare, will only call and ask for personal information in these 2 situations: A Medicare health or drug plan may call you if you're already a member of the plan.
- Cross-check and verify. Conduct an online search to cross-check the person's name, photo, location, email address and other details for legitimacy.
- Slow down and talk to someone you trust. ...
- Do not send money. ...
- If you have already sent money, report it.
- Research them. ...
- Ask them to meet face-to-face. ...
- Don't fall for very early romance signs. ...
- Don't offer the person money. ...
- Don't share your personal data.
You can never tell if someone is real or not on the internet unless you do a video chat with them, and even then, they may not be using their real name. There's no definitive way to find out if someone is legit or not.What's the worst someone can do with your phone number? ›
Some of this information may seem innocent enough, but in the wrong hands, it can expose you to criminal activity. Hackers, identity thieves, and scammers can use your phone number to find out where you are (and where you'll be), impersonate you, hijack your phone, or use your accounts.Can someone hack my phone by texting me? ›
Android phones can get infected by merely receiving a picture via text message, according to research published Monday. This is likely the biggest smartphone flaw ever discovered.What do I dial to see if my phone has been hacked? ›
Use the code *#21# to see if hackers track your phone with malicious intent. You can also use this code to verify if your calls, messages, or other data are being diverted. It also shows your diverted information's status and the number to which the information is transferred.How can I recover money from a scammer? ›
Contact the company or bank that issued the credit card or debit card. Tell them it was a fraudulent charge. Ask them to reverse the transaction and give you your money back.Can you go to jail for scamming money? ›
The aggravated type of the crime of fraud is punishable by imprisonment, in particular the criminal guilty of an aggravated fraud can be sentenced to 8 years in prison and a fine of 24 months.How do I get my money back after being cheated online? ›
Victims of such frauds can get a full refund of unauthorised transactions, according to banking rules. For this, however, account holders need to immediately inform the involved parties such as payment gateway, bank and others to get the refund from the fraud.Is scamming a crime? ›
Scams are crimes and should be reported to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre (0300 123 2040). You can also report phishing scams or computer viruses that you've received but haven't fallen victim to.
Do banks reimburse stolen money? Banks often reimburse stolen money, but there are some exceptions. Transactions not made by you or anyone authorized to use your account are fraudulent, and federal law protects your money.What to do if you ordered something from a fake website? ›
If you see a scam, or want to report a problem about online shopping, please tell the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint.Do fraudsters ever get caught? ›
Exclusive: more than 96% of reported fraud cases go unsolved - Which? News.What is the punishment for online scamming? ›
Section 468: Fraud committed with the intention of cheating may result in a seven-year prison sentence and a fine. This section also punishes email spoofing.Is online scamming a crime? ›
Online Fraud, Hacking and Phishing in California
The maximum fine required may range from $1,000 to $10,000. Most online fraud or cyber crimes are known as “wobblers;” they may be punished as either misdemeanors or felonies. The term of imprisonment may be served in county jail for up to three years.