05 Feb How to Spot a Fake Profile Scammer
If you haven’t already noticed, there are an ever-increasing number of faked profiles on Linked In. On average I get 1 a week trying to connect with me – so around 50 a year, and my network currently is less than 2000 people.
At best they are harvesting your contact information so that they can sell a list of contacts for spamming / marketing purposes. At worst they may be planning a more sophisticated scam and will soon be trying to establish rapport and build your trust.
Yes there are legitimately lots of people who are just starting out with Linked In, or else have badly written profiles. However, there are common signs of a fake profile.
If someone tries to connect with you, have a look at their profile and ask yourself the following questions. If they trigger too many of these alarms, block them (and select to report them for spamming to hopefully get the account shut down when enough people complain).
Does this look like a legitimate profile?
Is it a senior executive from a well know international organisation? Is it realistic for this kind of person to be getting in touch with you? Not all fake profiles are from companies you would know, but most of them are.
Does the age and dress of the person in the picture match the claimed position? Someone who looks thirty years old is NOT a senior account manager at Lloyds Bank. Score another black flag if they are not wearing business attire, or the background of their picture looks unprofessional, or there are other people in the picture with them.
How complete is the profile? Is there lots of information and history or is there a token number of interests and a few details about a past job? Are there any recommendations (written by their other contacts to recommend them)? Have they listed skills and other people have confirmed they do have those skills?
How many contacts do they have? Fakers typically have less than 100 contacts. But remember lots of people will just accept an invitation without thinking, so they may also have lots of contacts if they’ve been using this profile for a long time.
Do they seem to be trolling through your network? You are more likely to accept a contact if they seem to be connected to someone you know. So once a troll gets one contact, they will try to add everyone that contact knows.
View their recent activity (accessible near the button to connect with them). Have they been doing nothing other than connecting with people? (No posts, no articles, no sharing of articles). Are quite a few of their new contacts also your contacts? (See above.)
Are there spelling mistakes through the profile and is this consistent with the claimed title? If your favourite 50 year old welder is trying to get in touch, you’ll forgive the spelling mistakes, but usually scam profiles are senior executives, and those sort of people will NEVER have spelling mistakes on their profiles.
With a bit of practice, you can scan a profile and know in less than 10 seconds whether it is a fake profile. There is a slight chance you’ll get it wrong, so don’t go sending someone rude messages, but mostly you’ll get it right, and keeping these people out of your network and out of Linked In is good for everyone.
Please share this with your network!