LinkedIn is the most popular social network used by professionals, with nearly 740 million members in more than 200 countries worldwide. This widespread network makes it a prime target for online scammers that want to steal money or massive amounts of personal information.
Unsuspecting users use LinkedIn to seek professional opportunities and career advancement. Online scammers lure people in with exciting prospects and the promise of great salaries or rewards.
Fortunately, you can keep away from malicious activity by becoming familiar with the most common LinkedIn scams. You can keep your identity secure and your money safe if you know to avoid the following:
1. Fake Recruiters
One of the most widespread LinkedIn scams come in the form of fake job offers from fake recruiters. Scammers send out an unsolicited message telling you of a high paying job you can do anywhere in the world. The message is usually lengthy and comes off too good to be true, but the recruiter will assure you of its legitimacy at multiple points.
If you interact with the message in any way, you will be sent a phishing link that will capture all your sensitive personal information. You may even be asked to pay upfront for training or a trial job. After completion of these steps, the scammers will become unreachable, taking your information and your money with them.
If you are offered a job through a LinkedIn message, it’s essential to do your due diligence before sending a response. Verify the recruiter’s identity through other avenues. If you are at all suspicious about the recruiter or the job offer, just ignore or block the account that reached out to you.
Do not ever give payment or enter any account passwords during your application process. Legitimate companies will never ask for any of this information before or even after onboarding.
2. Phishing Links
Scammers pretend to be members of the LinkedIn administrative team and send fake emails and fake LinkedIn messages to users. These messages include links prompting you to confirm your email address or to enter your account information, when in fact, you will be led to a website that will capture your details so they can use it for identity theft.
96% of phishing attacks are sent by email. Suppose you receive an email from a reputable organisation. In that case, it’s best never to click any links provided, let alone entering any personal data, passwords, or bank account information to the page you are led to. Don’t open unknown email attachments, either.
If you have been prompted via email to verify or change anything in your account, it’s best to go directly to the company website to make those changes directly.
3. Inheritance or Dating Schemes
Inheritance and dating schemes are some of the world’s oldest scams—they predate even the internet. These days, some scammers use LinkedIn to impersonate bank authorities and lure in users by informing them of an inheritance from a deceased distant relative. All you need to do is give them all your bank account information.
If you ever receive a message in a similar vein or a message expressing romantic interest in you, it’s best to report it to LinkedIn immediately.
Popular social networking sites are a great way to connect with family, friends, and colleagues. However, there is another side to this popularity coin: online scammers prowl and crawl user profiles to steal personal information and scam unsuspecting users. As you use LinkedIn and other networking sites, it’s best to lead with skepticism and never acknowledge any messages or profiles that offer you anything too good to be true.
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