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Unmasking the Pretenders: Some Ways to Spot a Fake Account on LinkedIn®.

In the digital realm of professional networking, where genuine connections can pave the path to success, there may lurk in the shadows a number of fake or misleading accounts. These imposters can masquerade as legitimate professionals, potentially tarnishing your networking experience and even posing security risks.

Although, the majority of individuals on the platform are adhering to LinkedIn® strict policies and rules, (promoting and participating in honest and fruitful experiences) and LinkedIn® itself has engaged in a genuine effort to remove fake accounts (as noted in late 2023 when many individuals saw a sharp decline in their connection and follower numbers) it is always a good idea to be aware and protect yourself.

As a side, note in a published ‘transparency report’ with data

relating to the first six months of 2023, LinkedIn® advised it

removed almost 58 million fake accounts and over 105 million

spam items and scams on its platform. Thus, proving that

LinkedIn® considers this to be an incredibly serious matter. 

Your professional reputation must be your primary concerns and it is your responsibility to ensure every effort is made to protect it. Engaging with fake profiles can lead to credibility issues, wasting of your time and potentially damaging your network's perception of you. Furthermore, imposter accounts can be used for malicious purposes, such as phishing scams or identity theft.

How to Recognise Some Fake Accounts:

1.     Profile Picture Issues: 

The first clue often lies in the profile picture. Beware of accounts with blurry, low-quality images or those using stock photos or even celebrity pictures. A lack of a profile picture altogether can also, sometimes raise suspicions.

2.     Sparse or Overly Generic Information: 

Authentic LinkedIn® profiles should be detailed and specific. If you come across a profile with limited information, vague job titles or incompatible or generic summaries that could apply to anyone, proceed with caution.

3.     Connection Conundrum: 

Fake accounts often have an unusually high number of connections but lack meaningful interactions or endorsements. If someone claims to have thousands of connections but minimal engagement, it's a red flag.

4.     Inconsistencies Galore: 

Pay attention to inconsistencies in job histories, educational backgrounds or skill sets. Mismatched information or abrupt changes can indicate a fabricated profile.

5.     Activity Anomalies: 

Fake accounts may exhibit erratic posting behaviour, such as sharing irrelevant/off topic content, excessive self-promotion, grandiose statements or regurgitating generic/nonsense articles without personal input.

6.     Promising the World:

If the language on a profile page ‘reads too good to be true’, has an overuse of cliched terms and/or questionable grammar and sentence structure, if their commercial offering forces you to pause for a moment in disbelief, please question it.

Protecting yourself by addressing any internal concerns will keep you, your business and those in your network who rely on you, ‘less susceptible’ to the influence of those who do not have your best interests at heart.

LinkedIn® has over 1 billion registered accounts (as of November 2023) and to state the obvious, it is a public social platform. As with all social platforms caution must be advised and sound sensible behaviours encouraged.

Some Steps Which Could Keep You Safe:

1.     Examine the Profile: 

Scrutinise every detail, from the profile picture to the employment history. Look for coherence and authenticity in the information provided.

2.     Check Mutual Connections: 

If you share connections with the profile in question, reach out discreetly to verify

its legitimacy. Genuine mutual connections can provide valuable insights.

3.     Engage Wisely: 

If you need to interact with the account use messages and/or post comments.

Honest professionals will engage in meaningful conversations, while fake profiles may

dodge questions or provide generic, bot style responses.

4.     Google is Your Friend: 

Use search engines to cross-reference information from the LinkedIn® profile. Candid

professionals will often have a digital footprint in addition to a LinkedIn® profile.

5.     Report Suspicions: 

LinkedIn® provides a reporting feature for fake or misleading accounts. Do not

hesitate to use it if you encounter suspicious activity.

Stay Vigilant, Stay Genuine:

In the digital jungle of professional networking, the ability to distinguish real connections from counterfeit ones is a valuable skill. By staying vigilant and following the suggestions outlined above, you can navigate LinkedIn® with confidence, forging authentic relationships and safeguarding your online reputation.

Unlock Your LinkedIn Potential. Elevate Your Profile With Our Professional Assistance.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Always exercise caution and use your best judgment when interacting online.

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