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LinkedIn scams on the rise

Users need a LinkedIn account to stay competitive in many areas. Whether you are a fresh graduate about to start your career or a professional trying to build a network, LinkedIn is the ultimate work-related social media platform.

People associate the website with finding job opportunities and connecting with colleagues, it seems to be the last place to worry about scammers. Unfortunately, many crooks use the platform to exploit users. Knowing what scams exist and how to avoid them can help you use the platform safely and securely.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social media website for professionals. This is a platform designed to help people connect with their peers, find new employees and find employment opportunities.

Why do people fall for scams on LinkedIn?

Due to the type of people who use the site most often, scammers see many opportunities on LinkedIn. Active users usually fall into the vulnerable category, such as unemployed and eager to work or just graduated from school and naive to the dark side of the world.

Because the platform’s reputation is so good, people turn a blind eye to rough interactions. Many users expect (and hope) that strangers will contact them and provide opportunities.

Is LinkedIn a safe platform?

LinkedIn is a safe and trustworthy platform. Many people found their dream job or internship because "some stranger" saw their profile and thought they were suitable.

The scam on LinkedIn is not a product of the platform itself, but a product of malicious users.

People use similar scams on almost any semi-anonymous communication platform, including sites such as Facebook Marketplace and Instagram.

Fortunately, once you know what to look for, it is very easy to spot these scams.

What are the most common LinkedIn scams?

The scams you encounter on LinkedIn are not much different from the scams you encounter on other social media sites. Although you may encounter many different situations, you should understand the six typical scenarios.

1. Catfish

Catfish is not a phenomenon specifically designed to trick people into dating. Scammers pretend to be others online, enticing others to disclose private information or hand over their hard-earned money, or simply because the other party wants to be cruel.

These people may create accounts of very famous people in order to trick someone into thinking that they have a huge opportunity in front of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, or other wealthy people. They may pretend to be a completely fictitious character with a fabricated company or background.

2. Phishing Scam

When you get a job, they do need to know a lot of your personal information. It is not uncommon for a contract to require you to provide data such as bank details or social security numbers.

This fact does not mean that you should distribute such information to anyone during the application process.

Some scammers use LinkedIn to find phishing victims, and they try to use deception to get the target to hand over their personal information.

For example, a scammer may tell you that they are recruiters from a top company and find your profile promising and urge you to apply. However, instead of directing you to the actual company site, they will send you to a fake site and prompt you to hand over the information.

3. False job opportunities

Some scammers go a step further, instead of offering jobs, they offer you jobs. Sometimes these jobs seem too good to be true—that's because they are.

Never be obsessed with the old trick of handing over your data to secure a position you have never applied for.

Sometimes, scammers do nothing to your information. Many online freelancers fall into an online strategy where they are tricked into providing a service and then never receive payment after service is rendered.

4. False "technical" issues

If LinkedIn has any questions about your account, they will not contact you with some random profile. If you have technical issues, other websites will not use LinkedIn as a platform to contact you.

When someone claims that they need your information in one of the messages, please report them immediately. They are likely trying to deceive you. These scams may even occur outside the platform.

LinkedIn is a mature and successful company. They can afford their email domain and will not contact you via "customer service emails" with Hotmail or Gmail accounts.

5. Malware

If you receive any direct messages from strangers, be cautious of any files they might try to convince you to download. Of course, it’s not uncommon for people to send Word documents, PDFs, or website links, but make sure you have some virus protection on your computer to check for malicious downloads.

Don't click on anything suspicious or unsolicited.

Some red flags help indicate whether the document is sketchy. First, you can use the app to scan the file in advance, and it will alert you if there is malware in the file.

Check the size of the file before downloading it. If someone tells you that they sent you a one-page Word document and the attached file exceeds 20MB, you should be suspicious.

Also, watch out for attempts to deceive using disguised hyperlinks. Within the plain text of the hyperlink, it can appear like you are clicking on a legitimate link, but in fact you are activating the blocked hyperlink.

6. Pig Butchering Investments Scams

In the majority of investment scams, the scammers would claim to be financial professionals and cultivate victims on online platforms. Once lured, the scammers would introduce victims to investment websites or mobile applications where they would be enticed to invest and asked to transfer money to unknown bank accounts. Victims would also be asked to pay administrative fees, security fees or taxes in order to reap profits. In many instances, victims would earn a profit from the investment at the initial stage, leading them to believe that the

investment was legitimate and lucrative. Monies were deposited into the designated bank accounts or when the

victims realised they were unable to withdraw.

Is it safe to use LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a very secure platform, and many people believe it is necessary to stay competitive in the modern job market. Using LinkedIn is no more dangerous than using any other social media services such as Facebook or Instagram. Knowing what potential threats exist and learning how to deal with them is a good way to avoid them and use the platform safely.



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