Scammers come at you any way they can - whether it's through email, the phone, social media or anywhere else - to try and steal your information or worse. Even the places you think are safe really aren't, so you need to be on your guard.
One of those places is LinkedIn. It has 330 million users and is a great resource for business networking that can help you land a job. However, if you aren't careful you can easily run into scams.
The two main ways scammers use LinkedIn are the message system and fake profiles.
The message system scam works a lot like a regular email phishing scam. You get a message in your LinkedIn inbox pretending to be from a business person or company that wants to get to know you, do business with you or provide you with a huge money-making opportunity. Just click a link to connect with them.
Except, if you click the link you're taken to a malicious website that tries to infect your computer or asks you to give up sensitive information. Just like with regular email, you need to be on your guard and not click on links in unsolicited email.
The other scam has someone set up a fake profile or two and try to connect with you. In an effort to grow their business network, a lot of people on LinkedIn accept invitations from other people without really thinking.
You want to take a second to think about why the person might be wanting to connect with you. Check their profile to see how complete it is. It might not have much information or many contacts, both of which means it's either new or a fake.
You might also see horrible grammar or spelling. That doesn't necessarily mean the profile is a fake, but you probably don't want to be associated with a business person who can't spell.
Sometimes if the scammer has tricked your friends first, you might see that they're connected too. That makes it more likely you'll accept, but you should still be cautious.
Having a fake profile linked to you on LinkedIn is actually a big problem. Not only does having a number of linked legitimate profiles mean that the scammer has an easier time tricking others, the scammer can send you private messages.
These are going to be more targeted phishing scams designed to trick you out of money or information. Because the person is a contact, and has used your profile information to tailor the message to you personally, you're more likely to go along with it.
On the other end are hackers who might use your LinkedIn account to break into your company's network. Find out how that's possible here and how you can stop it.