How do you know if a LinkedIn profile account is fake?
Have you ever received a connection from a LinkedIn user and their profile just doesn’t look legitimate? You might be desperate to find a job on LinkedIn so you end up accepting requests from people that you’re not sure about. However, online threats even exist on professional social networks like LinkedIn, often in the form of fake profiles.
Spotting a fake LinkedIn profile partly comes down to gut feeling. Knowing exactly what to look for, however, makes it that much easier. Here are 5 key signs that a connection request you received may not be genuine.
Take in the account’s overall impression. Unless the account is private, you should be able to see details like the user’s location, education, employment, and About section. An incomplete profile is a red flag, as is one that feels unprofessional or impersonal.
Look at the user’s About information, for example. Apart from spelling or phrasing mistakes, there may be inconsistencies with the sector they’re supposed to be an expert in. It’s common to find generic wording too, so keep your eyes and mind open to anything that feels off.
2.Suspicious profile picture
A fake LinkedIn account often uses an unusual picture and so gives itself away. Some don’t use a photo at all. While groomed professionals and quality headshots are common sights on the platform, most users try to avoid looking like a stock photo. You also might come across famous faces smiling back at you that don’t match the name displayed on the profile.
As a job seeker, you’re supposed to create a profile that grabs employers’ attention, while also reflecting who you are as a person. If a connection request has a random or generic phrase for a headline, the user might not be on LinkedIn for the same reasons as everybody else.
Making friends on the platform isn’t bad, of course, but you have to apply extra caution, especially when a lapse in judgement is all it takes to get into a lot of trouble with scammers.
4.Suspicious work or education history
Here, too, the more information the profile provides, the better. Filling in your employment or education history on LinkedIn is tedious, but it needs to look as interesting as possible. So an account that only shows a handful of companies and job titles without extra detail such as responsibilities is strange, to say the least.
Going through someone’s resume does seem extreme, but a fake account is bound to make mistakes there. Not only that, but a Google search of information you’re not sure of could yield further warnings about the account. A bit of paranoia sometimes pays off.
5.Messages with links
Some fraudulent users are bold enough to send a message along with their connection request. Since their goal is to convince you to trust them, they sometimes fill their messages with hooks like irresistible job perks, keywords, and excited language.
They might include links and documents that contain more information on whatever they’re offering. Don’t open or download anything until you know the user and offer are genuine. This applies to interactions on any platform, whether it’s a social network or your email account.
One handy way to test a suspicious profile is to, first, research the details on their account, including the person and company. Then message them back with questions. A diplomatic and non-confrontational approach works best. If their answers fall short, you can reject or ignore their offer.