Beware of Scams on LinkedIn!

By Nigel Cliffe

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I recently received an (unusually) impersonal LinkedIn message from my connection Business Development Executive, Gareth Bottomley containing an active link to click on (see image below).

Before clicking the link, I called Gary to ask if the message is for real. He said not, and knew nothing about it.

With his permission, I wanted to warn all my readers to be aware of this type of message.

Fake LinkedIn Scam Message from Gareth Bottomley

The footer on the message (see below) also made it appear legitimate.

Fake LinkedIn Scam Message foorter from Gareth Bottomley

Gareth revealed that scarily the hackers had changed his LinkedIn login email address and locked him out of his account. Fortunately, LinkedIn Support had been excellent and suspended his account straight away.

Sadly, I wasn’t the only one to receive the fake LinkedIn scams message. Sports Prestige and Classic Ltd Director, Adrian Hogarth clicked on the link in Gareth’s fake message. He was taken to a blank page. Gareth also reported that he didn’t see a corresponding ‘sent’ version of the message in his LinkedIn inbox.

Paul Rosser, Director at R&D Consulting, has written a detailed article explaining scams like this which, despite originally spreading via emails, are becoming increasingly common on social media platforms like LinkedIn.

Ironically, as Business Improvement Consultant, Seema Bye highlighted, this unfortunate incident happened on Safer Internet Day! The aim of Safer Internet Day (on 11th February 2020) is to inspire positive changes online and to raise awareness about issues such as cyberbullying, privacy intrusions, cyberattacks and exposure to potentially harmful content. Personally, I think every day ought to be Safer Internet Day!

As Customer Journey Expert, Nigel Greenwood pointed out when I shared this example of one of the many LinkedIn scams that occur every day, hackers who try to create fake messages like the one above no doubt have the brains to create profitable and legitimate businesses if only they had the right morals!

Unfortunately, they are using their brainpower to dupe people into clicking on harmful links, often with the intention of tricking people into parting with cash.

So, What Should You Do if you Receive a Fake LinkedIn Scam Message?

Don’t Click the Link!

As a general warning around our digital world, if you are not sure about the authenticity of a message, especially with a link – DON’T click on it – check it with the person the message is supposedly from first!

You can check if the link looks legitimate by hovering over it, which will prompt the full link to appear in the bottom left of your desktop WITHOUT clicking on it. That way you get a preview of what you’re getting yourself into!

Change Your Password to a Strong One Regularly

If you do click on a questionable link, change your LinkedIn password straight away to a strong one made up of a random combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Strong Password Generator is a free website that is great at helping you come up with a strong password.

It’s good practice to change your password regularly.

Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

As IT Expert Mark Dodds rightly suggests setting up Two Factor Authentication. This means as well as your email address and password, you’ll also have to provide a 6 digit verification code to gain access to your LinkedIn account. This code will have been sent from LinkedIn to your mobile number via text and enhances your account security.

It’s a good idea to set up Two-factor Authentication on all online service and websites that you use that support it, not just LinkedIn

Contact LinkedIn Support

LinkedIn Support can be helpful in these situations, especially if you think your LinkedIn account has been compromised. To Report a hacked LinkedIn Account to LinkedIn click here to fill out their online form.

Stay safe folks online and offline!

If you found this blog post helpful, you may also find this post about being aware of fake LinkedIn Profiles useful too!

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