When is a LinkedIn profile not a Linkedin Profile?
Updated: Apr 7, 2022
Do you sometimes wonder 'how do I spot a fake LinkedIn profile'?
Working in Social Media management it's an occupational hazard that we get all sorts of inbound messages and requests - many of them bogus.
Platforms such as Instagram and Twitter have long been plagued by fake profiles (and associated bots) that try to connect with real people.
Why are there fake social media profiles?
A high number of followers can make an account seem credible, whether those followers are genuine or not.
A disguised profile can be innocent - the person simply doesn't want to share personal information.
A bogus profile can connect with a view to hard-selling a product or service.
A scammer can hide behind a fake profile to try and get personal information from you.
Are there fake profiles on LinkedIn?
Unfortunately, yes. How do I know? Because today I was contacted by one - so thought I'd share what happened...
1. I posted on Linkedin
I saw an interesting post in my feed about how a message from Chinese regulators had caused a massive drop in the value of bitcoin.
On the back of Elon Musk's tweets that had wiped huge value off I was interested to get people's opinions.
So I shared the article with a post, and the hashtags #cryptocurrency, #bitcoin, #crypto and #socialmediainfluencers.
Almost immediately, I had a comment...
2. I got a comment - quickly.
I got a quick comment from a 3rd+ connection - from a cryptologist (cool job title).
I was intrigued, so I clicked through to the profile. (As soon as I did this by the way he viewed my profile - several times).
3. The profile... My spider-sense is tingling
A few things struck me when I looked at the profile...
That is one good looking chap.
He's working out of Bangladesh - I have no connections in that part of the world.
He only has 4 connections
His 'about' section had two poor pieces of grammar within it. I particularly liked that he was asking people who need help to 'contract' him.
So to check my suspicions, I did a reverse google search of the profile image - to see if that handsome, yet casual businessman smiling at me was legit.
To do a Google search of an image, save it, go to Google (images page) and drag the image into the search bar. Google will show you where that image appears on the web.
4. Wait a minute - this guy's everywhere!
Unsurprisingly, the image was on LOTS of websites. Eventually, I tracked it back to a stock image on Shutterstock:
There he was - my Cryptocurrency expert.
Same handsome businessman smiling at me in a casual way...
5. The end result?
I blocked the profile and reported it to LinkedIn as a somewhat dodgy photo on a somewhat dodgy account that they might want to look at.
Having looked around, it seems this is quite a popular way of scammers getting contacts of people who may be interested in cryptocurrency - so I felt it only right that I share the experience with you - forwarned is fore-armed.
After all, we are all sharing personal data on LinkedIn to some extent.
So when you're on LinkedIn, engage, connect, expand you network - but just be sure you know who you're connecting with.