One problem with LinkedIn is that it's so easy to let your guard down. After all, it's a site specifically designed to conduct business, and it has a great reputation for doing that. Keep your guard up, though. As with other social networking sites, LinkedIn has its fair share of scammers who want to steal your valuable information.
In fact, you might be getting dozens of scam requests a week. Because legitimate job recruiters use LinkedIn to message candidates out of the blue, it's more common and less suspicious to connect with a scammer on the site compared to a site like Facebook.
Most of these profiles use photos of women taken from stock photo sites and steal information from real profiles and are often in the "information security or oil and gas industry" sections. Here are other signs to look for, according to Symantec:
- They bill themselves as recruiters for fake firms or are supposedly self employed
- They primarily use photos of women pulled from stock image sites or of real professionals
- They copy text from profiles of real professionals and paste it into their own
- They keyword-stuff their profile for visibility in search results
Symantec also provided an example of a known fake LinkedIn account:
Once the connection is made, scammers can then pull contact information from your other connections, such as email addresses and phone numbers which can then be used in spear-phishing and other email attacks. And with more than 400 million users, that's a lot of information at risk.
What should you do?
First off, don't accept a request from someone you don't know. If you do, be skeptical. If you come across a suspicious LinkedIn profile, be sure to report it. Once reported, LinkedIn takes immediate action and takes down any fake or phony account.