Be wary of fake LinkedIn accounts spreading spam

Facebook is not the only place where people make fake profiles – they do it on LinkedIn, too. But instead of stalking their exes and spying on their significant others through fake profiles with images of photo models from vKontakte, the fake LinkedIn profiles have a more sinister agenda.

According to a report by Symantec, who has spotted an increase in the number of specific profiles, they have been built to find new spam opportunities.

Symantec says most of these fake accounts follow a specific pattern:

  • They bill themselves as recruiters for fake firms or are supposedly self-employed
  • They primarily use photos of women pulled from stock image sites or of real professionals
  • They copy-paste text from profiles of real professionals for their summary and experience
  • They keyword-stuff their profile for visibility in search results

Every element was done to fit a specific purpose – being a “recruiter” increases the profile’s chance of being accepted, when a connection is requested. Being a woman (and a beautiful one, at that) does the same thing. Stuffing profiles with keywords makes it easier for the profiles to be found.

All of this just to get some spam out there.

“The primary goal of these fake LinkedIn accounts is to map out the networks of business professionals. Using these fake LinkedIn accounts, scammers are able to establish a sense of credibility among professionals in order to initiate further connections,” Symantec says.

“In addition to mapping connections, scammers can also scrape contact information from their connections, including personal and professional email addresses as well as phone numbers. This information could be used to send spear-phishing emails.”

The advice here is to be careful who you accept as a contact on LinkedIn. When you get requested by someone you don’t know, do some background checks. For example, you can do a reverse-image search to see if the photo was pulled from somewhere else.