LinkedIn Fraud: Who Are You Really Connecting With?

LinkedIn is a place where professionals can connect, discover professional opportunities and stay up to date with what’s happening in their field of work. However, not all of LinkedIn’s users are there to take advantage of the website as a resource. Rather, they are there to take advantage of other users.

Fake profiles are not new when it comes to social media. With the professional nature of LinkedIn, the intentions of these fake profiles vary. Some do it to lure users into scams or to gather e-mail addresses for spam lists, others gather up connections to be sold for profit later. Tiro Security’s own Kris Rides has firsthand experience in interacting with fraudulent profiles and has advice on just how to spot a fake account.

How to Spot a Fake Profile

Connecting on LinkedIn is an encouraged part of the professional social platform. However, telling a real person from a fake can be difficult. Looking for inconsistencies in a resume is one way to tell. “If his or her work history and connections don’t seem to add up, they have very few endorsements or their profile picture looks like it’s a stock photo, there’s a good chance it’s a fake account,” says Rides. Suspecting a fraudulent account, one can then take the image associated with the user’s account and do a reverse Google image search. In the case of “Pamela Lawson”, the reverse Google Image search revealed her to actually be Melanie, a physical therapist rather than the C.T.O. at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

What to do with a Fake Profile?

Once a fake profile has been discovered, the profile can be flagged and LinkedIn Customer Service will take over from there. “Reporting fake profiles helps keep your information, as well as the information of others, safe,” says Rides. 

Inconsistencies in name and location flag this account as a possible fake.

Like any other social media website, it’s important to be aware of who one connects with and what is available to the public. Using the privacy settings that LinkedIn offers may limit the usefulness of having a profile although it is a way to help keep ones information safe, and if possible always take the time to do a bit of research on the new face inviting to connect.  The examples here are all connections received by Kris Rides in the last three days. “I am averaging 1 or 2 fake profiles requests a day, and I am sure others get just as many. I believe that they are adding people in the security industry to gain credibility for their profile. It’s possible that they may even be gathering information for a Social Engineering attack on an individual,” says Rides.

This profile has multiple flags of a fake profile. To start, the position as a Business Development Executive began over 26 years ago. However, “Donna” only started at UCLA in 2006. Furthermore, the reverse image search found the exact image linked to another name in a credible publication.


As an original and unique CyberSecurity staffing and professional services partner based in Los Angeles that has a variety of technical skills, the Tiro Security team offers the most flexible, cost effective and comprehensive solutions. We believe in making information Security available to all businesses and have focused on solutions for small to medium businesses. Cybersecurity is a growing issue in today’s world, being proactive is the best was to stay safe in cyberspace.

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