NEWS + ADVICE
Fake LinkedIn Profiles
Much has been written about fake LinkedIn profiles. There are folks who use LinkedIn to build marketing or contact lists and even worse, to gather information and intel on folks for nefarious reasons.
Many critics have commented that there are numerous fake LinkedIn profiles, and it will ruin LinkedIn if it’s not addressed.
However, LinkedIn is still a very effective tool for building your personal brand for finding a job, developing a business or attracting talent. Being part of a community allows you to build your brand and take advantage of the community watching out for you. Community policing is important only if the community has the tools and the knowledge to address these fake LinkedIn profiles and does something about them.
Know What Normal Is
First, knowledge is gained through use. You need to know what a normal LinkedIn profile is, such as completely filled out profile, consistent work and education dates. For some tips on what a fake LinkedIn profile would look like check out LinkedIn Catfish, Fake Profiles Real People or Fake Photos.
Next is understanding the tools at your disposal. If someone reaches out to you, and you suspect that the person is not legitimate, rather than Accepting the invitation, you can Ignore the invitation, and then Report Spam. If you have gone to their LinkedIn profile, and believe that the profile is not valid, you can report it as inappropriate.
On the profile, there is a drop down menu on the Send a Message button. The last option is to Flag as inappropriate and you will be asked the reason why you believe the profile is inappropriate.
You can also go to the LinkedIn Help Section and fill out a False Profile Claim,
I did this recently as I was contacted by a person who vaguely threatened me. After flagging the message as spam, I was concerned as the person said they were representing a company that I was familiar with. After reaching out to a colleague to share with them the incident, they quickly alerted their CISO.
The bottom line is that there is some inherent risk in all social media. Developing an understanding of what normal LinkedIn activity is will be a first step to being more secure. Second, building your personal and company brand is an important way to have others watch out for you.