Watch Out for Scammers on LinkedIn
Hundreds of millions of people have used the online platform LinkedIn to broaden their business and professional networks. So it’s no surprise that exploiters are following the crowd. The FBI recently revealed that scammers are using LinkedIn to lure targets into cryptocurrency schemes. “It’s a significant threat,” Sean Ragan, an FBI special agent, said in an exclusive interview with CNBC, adding, “there are many potential victims, and there are many past and current victims.”
The LinkedIn scammers create fake profiles to look like legitimate professionals. They then send messages to connect with their targets, establish rapport, and pitch cryptocurrency schemes. Initially, the fraudsters may steer their victims to legitimate websites in order to build trust, according to CNBC. But eventually they persuade their targets to send money to crooked sites where the cash disappears.
“That’s what they focus their time and attention on,” Ragan explained, adding that the fraudsters do “their homework” to come up with new ways to con people.
In response to the report, Oscar Rodriguez, LinkedIn’s senior director of trust, privacy and equity, acknowledged “a rise in fraudulent activity” on the internet, including LinkedIn. The company has said it removed 32 million fake accounts last year and that its defenses block 99 percent of scams and spam. But “trying to identify what is fake and what is not fake is incredibly difficult,” Rodriguez told CNBC.