(What The Bleep) Is A Phony LinkedIn Account: How To Spot Them, What To Do

LinkedIn has always been the industry standard when it comes to online networking with other professionals.

But one drawback is there are imposters posing as real LinkedIn users, trying to ‘scam’ the millions of professionals like you around the globe.

The internet is full of despicable scam artists who will try to trick you somehow—and #LinkedIn is no exception. These scammers will set up a LinkedIn account using military head shots and fake work experience, duping even the best of us. These inauthentic LinkedIn accounts appear valid, but with these brief pointers, you’ll be an expert in spotting the real McCoy or a total fake.

  1. Start by scrutinizing each LinkedIn invitation to connect. Look especially closely for invitations that use generic language. A professional sending the invite should be writing a personal invitation to spark your memory on when you met recently or at least a message that is clearly tailored to your profile.
  2. Use your own judgment. It can be easy to spot a #fakeLinkedIn connection request. Some invitations requests are crafty and may look genuine, so stay on your guard. If something feels fishy, it probably is.
  3. Review their LinkedIn profile to glance at their activity. Check for recent LinkedIn postings; scan their selected list of LinkedIn groups and other tasks which demonstrate that the user is active. Those of us who network honestly understand the reasonable time commitment it takes.
  4. Don’t feel obligated to connect with anyone you don’t know. Many LinkedIn users are playing by the rules but others just want quantity for the sake of appearing as Top LinkedIn. I described how to grow your LinkedIn network based upon your own strategic principles. A request to connect is yours to accept or decline. Read a recent post about random invites suggestions here.
  5. Don’t hesitate to report or flag obvious spam accounts, either. Here is the excerpt from LinkedIn’s Help Center:

“LinkedIn Customer Service has no way of knowing of such fakes and scams unless amember reports the issue. You need to report the fake through the “Contact Us” link appearing at the top of every LinkedIn Help Forum webpage.”

Think about sending a personal reply when accepting foreign connection request, if you choose to engage. Your LinkedIn message might include your personal networking philosophy or ask a question which requires their answer. You can disconnect anytime in the future if it turns out you’ve been duped.

How do I remove a connection?

Simple. Open their LinkedIn profile page and click on “Block or Report” or “Remove connection”, whichever is appropriate for your situation.

Key takeaway – Be on the lookout for fraudulent use on LinkedIn. Help others by reporting phony users. Your professional ethical standard should be consistent whether you’re networking in-person or online.

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