Many of the Linked Strategies members have asked about identifying a fake profile and what they can do about it. Let me share a few obvious and not so obvious tactics used by fake profilers!

How to Identify a Fake LinkedIn Profile & What to Do About It

He might just be a robot in disguise.

The following are Red flags or Triggers for identifying fake LinkedIn Profiles:

1. Lower case first and last name

2. Stock photo

3. Minimally filled out profile with a large number of groups

4. Generic company name

5. Rhythmic names like Sam Smith, Joe Johnson, etc.

More complex fake profiles I’ve seen are pretty well filled out with real pictures, what seems to be real summaries, but they steal real peoples identities like the CIO of Bank of America that tried to connect with me. It was pretty bold, but obviously fake. I figured it out by cross referencing against the real person and I noticed many profiles requested connection with similar approaches. When I opened the profiles, I found all the websites linked to the same pages. Researching the owner of the pages, I realized the owners had no idea their SEO company was using this as a backlinking strategy without their knowledge!

Many lessons to learn form this, The main thing to know is once you are 100% certain you are looking at a fake profile is to Flag it for Spam just under the Public Profile URL on the bottom right.

LinkedIn will suspend the account after enough people flag the profile.

Please share this with your network and other groups so we can spread the word to other LinkedIn Members about this very challenging approach spammers continue to undertake.

 

Nate Kievman

12 Responses to “How to Identify a Fake LinkedIn Profile & What to Do About It”

  1. Nate, have you heard anything about fake invitations or communications pretending to come from LinkedIn but then directing the recipient to another site when they click the link?

    Someone brought this to my attention today, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it.

  2. Nate says:

    @Alexa I haven’t seen this myself, but if they connected with you, they can download your email address. I have heard of them then sending to your account with mocked templates that look identical to LinkedIn’s. So I certainly know it happens, just not to me.

  3. James says:

    How do we know your profile is real? Just because it is absent of spelling errors? What you are mentioning is attributable more to non US-speaking people than educated spammers.

  4. Nate says:

    @james, it is what it is. Fake profiles have characteristics and as we know, many are created by people oversees.

  5. Henry says:

    I just got an invite that had me googling. Individual held 3 CEO positons at large companies plus had Harvard listed as education – plus a faitry “hot” photo. Too good to be true to get a blind invite.

    I couldnt find the spam link.

  6. Nate says:

    The spam link actually is a “Flag” button.

  7. [...] of the Linked Strategies members have asked about identifying a fake profile and what they can do about it. Let me share a few obvious and not so obvious tactics used by fake [...]

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  9. Cees says:

    What I find a good check is always the education field and match it against the stock picture.

    A guy in his 40′s graduation 4 years ago? Possible, but unlikely.

    (P.s. Since I am from abroad they may be spelling errors ;-) )

  10. @alexa samuels – yes, I have received fake LinkedIn connection requests. While the email looks similar, the blue color is “off” and the format is not quite the same. I never open a LinkedIn Request that I receive through my email. I always logon to LinkedIn to look at the invitations. That’s initially how I knew they were fake. I send these fake requests to my junk email and block the sender to prevent future access.

  11. I could have used these insights 2 weeks ago, before I connected with a pretty face claiming to be a recruiter in Massachusetts. I figured it out by going to Google Image Search, clicking the “Search by Image” icon, and pasting the profile photo’s URL.

    As I wrote to her (or, perhaps, to him):

    Less than a day after accepting your LinkedIn invitation, I’ve disconnected. I don’t believe that you are who you say you are. Here’s why:

    1. Aside from your LinkedIn profile, you have no digital footprint.

    2. Though I’ve never known a [girl with a certain rare first European name], you’re one of at least two ____s— LinkedIn now shows me a ___ ___ in Texas—claiming to be a recruiter for [the same company]. She, too, appears to be a pretty young brunette but has no digital footprint to speak of: Neither you nor she is listed on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, or Pinterest.

    3. Your photo shows someone quite young, but you use a Hotmail account.

    4. Your profile summary starts with the same sentence as that of a German-Canadian recruiter, ___ ____.

    5. Your profile photo shows actress _____.

    You may be a recruiter, but you’re not who you say you are. I’ll be notifying LinkedIn and urging others to avoid you and other catfish.

  12. […] Linked Strategies – identifies a few red flags and tells you how to report (ironically offering courses on building powerful LinkedIn profiles – I rank this kind of thing alongside SEO and social media mavens…). […]

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