How to Recognise and Avoid LinkedIn Scams

Ilustración de una persona robando datos.

 

Hackers always find new ways. Internet scams have become a sophisticated practice that’s hard to dodge. This large and complex business has been progressively growing during the past five years. According to a report by the cybersecurity company, ESET, Spain is third in the ranking of countries with the highest numbers of cyberattacks, only behind Japan and Turkey. Such rank demands better protection and academic training to fight this true social scourge. 

Online fraud has managed to interfere with every possible aspect of life, threatening to affect our personal life, our economy and even our jobs. LinkedIn has been chosen as the ideal scenario for this. This social network is generally perceived as serious, safe and professional — all positive aspects of which hackers have taken advantage to carry out their attacks. Because we have all searched for jobs on this platform. I’m sure most mortals will agree with me on this one.

 

Spain is third in the ranking of countries with the highest numbers of cyberattacks, only behind Japan and Turkey.

What is interesting, though, is that centennials are the favourite prey of these cyber criminals. Confidently navigating the Internet since we can remember may play against us this time, since it makes us easier to manipulate and more vulnerable in the face of danger. And even more so when we’re talking about finding a job. These crooks, experts in creating enticing job offers, have managed to hit the nail on the head with our attention and interest. The strategy is clear: presenting job offers with great working conditions, no previous experience and high salaries.

However, this is not the only way they operate. Let’s see some of the most common formulas so that you can always stay alert:

Email Notifications

For years now, fraudulent emails have been the preferred option for scammers.  Although most of them have numerous spelling mistakes, disconnected sentences and suspicious images, these emails are getting noticeably better.

These cyberattacks now use a writing style similar to LinkedIn’s to arouse curiosity in users. Messages like “You’ve come up on 30 searches this week” or “Congratulate María for her new job” are clear examples of phishing, a technique that acts like a fishing hook for our passwords and that seeks to extract our information. Once you click on a malicious link, we will be involuntarily handing over our login information. 

Job Offers

As we have mentioned before, another way they can steal our personal information is through fake job offers in which we only have to answer a direct message. If we start a conversation with these alleged recruiters, they will most probably ask us to pay, upfront, for an aptitude test or a training course. However, it’s important to highlight that no company will ever ask for your banking information — least of all, during a selection process.

When facing these types of situations, the best thing you can do is check on Google whether the company you’re applying to actually exists. You can copy and paste their description on your browser and see if it shows up on any other websites and pay attention to the characteristics of those profiles. Usually, they don’t have any previous activity or pictures and descriptions of the job position usually have spelling mistakes and are inconsistent. But be careful! We’ve seen them copy text from accounts of real people.

Pyramid Schemes

Pyramid schemes have also made their way into this social network and they present themselves in different shapes. The most common one is receiving a message from a profile that looks serious and professional inviting you to invest in cryptocurrencies or any other type of asset. The goal is to convince the user through a bank transfer to later disappear. These types of propositions —too good to be true— promise users a quick and easy way to make money, backed by a proposition with a link to an elaborated website full of positive reviews.

 

 

As you can see, no one is safe from fraud. Being aware of it is already a good first step to staying alert, whether on LinkedIn or any other network. Here’s a decalogue of basic rules to follow and be able to call out any scammer!

Tips to Avoid Falling for It

  1. Make sure it’s always the official company whenever you see a suspicious job offer. If you have any doubt, Google it and check their information.
  2. Be cautious with the contact requests you receive. If an unknown person sends you a message and doesn’t address you by your name, don’t answer, don’t click on any link and erase the message.
  3. When in doubt, never provide any personal or banking information.
  4. If you’ve received an email with an offer or a relevant message, check it first from LinkedIn’s official website or app. The notification should also be there if it’s real. 
  5. Create a long, strong and safe password.
  6. Check and update your privacy in the configuration tab. You will be able to change who can access your personal information (such as email and phone number) and change it so that only your contacts can see it.
  7. Activate two-step verification or double-factor authentication. In case someone has taken hold of your credentials, it will be harder for them to access your account.
  8. Report the offer to keep other users from falling for the scam.
  9. Be careful with investment offers that promise quick and easy money.
  10. And, most importantly, remember that if something seems too good to be true, then it’s most probably a scam.

Remember that if something seems too good to be true, then it’s most probably a scam.

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