LinkedIn is a popular social media website used by business professionals to network with other professionals. According to LinkedIn, it has more than 645 million users. LinkedIn is used by these people to get ideas, explore opportunities and even to list job postings. Anything popular with so many people is attractive to scam artists so it is not surprising that scammers attempt to use LinkedIn as a basis for many scams and identity theft schemes. Recently LInkedIn announced hat it had either blocked or removed 21.6 million phony accounts in just the first six months of 2019 with 95% of those accounts blocked before they could ever appear on LinkedIn. Among the many scams that do appear on LinkedIn are job scams. Security software company Symantec issued a warning about an increase of LinkedIn job scams. Symantec identified a common pattern found in many of these phony job listings on LinkedIn. The pattern includes fake accounts set up by the scammers posing as recruiters for nonexistent businesses. They also often use photographs of women that they obtain from websites that provide images or other online sources. To make the ads seem more legitimate, they will copy the exact wording of real advertisements appearing elsewhere. What makes this scam particularly dangerous is that real recruiters use LinkedIn to contact prospective job recruits. While some of the older job scams would ask for money from their victims to pay for credit checks or other administrative costs, the newer scams seem primarily to be done with a goal of gaining information, such as email addresses and other information about the people targeted and the companies where they work in order to facilitate directed spear phishing used to lure employees to unwittingly download malware into their companies’ computers.
Although LinkedIn and other websites that carry job postings try to identify and either prevent or remove phony ads from appearing on their websites, you cannot depend on these companies to fully protect you. Certainly a little skepticism helps when you see a job posting for a job that sounds too good to be true. Ads that ask for you to pay upfront costs for any reason should be considered to be a scam.
To check on the legitimacy of photographs in these ads you can do a reverse image search using Google or websites such as tineye.com. You can also check to see if the wording of the advertisement has been used elsewhere by merely copying a substantial amount of the text into your search engine and see what comes up. Finally, research the company itself to determine if it is a legitimate company. You can’t be too careful before providing someone with personal information. Never provide personal information, such as your Social Security number in response to an employment ad unless you have confirmed that the ad is legitimate. A good place to do this is with the HR department of the real company.
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