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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Watch out for this LinkedIn scam

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Article thanks to Kim Komando at komando.com. Links provided:


Sept, 2015 As a small business owner, you know how hard you've worked to forge relationships with clients, potential clients and colleagues who keep you informed about what's going on in your industry. Which is why you work hard to maintain contact, whether it's with phone calls, emails or after-work drinks.

Of course, these days, a lot of your small business socializing takes place on LinkedIn. The social media network has 380 million users, most of whom are on there looking for work, looking for employees, or keeping up-to-date on industry news, including from posts written by industry leaders.

This is all extremely useful for you and your small business, but you have to be careful on LinkedIn, just like you do on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The problem with LinkedIn is that it's so easy to let your guard down. After all, it's a site specifically designed to conduct business, and it has a great reputation for doing that.

Keep your guard up, though. As with other social networking sites, LinkedIn has its fair share of scammers who want to steal your valuable information. We're going to give you some tips for keeping your business, and yourself, safe on LinkedIn.

First, a little good news about LinkedIn. Cybercriminals on LinkedIn aren't going to do you much harm simply by becoming your online friend, or connection. They need to engage you, either by convincing you to click on links to their phony websites, or by having you share information with them. Once you do, they can infect your computer system with malware, and steal financial and other sensitive information.

You're a smart businessperson, so you're not going to get duped, right? You may even be really good at spotting red flags, like misspelled words and bad grammar. But scammers are clever. Here are two ways they'll try to trick you.

PHISHING

The message system scam works a lot like a regular email phishing scam. You get a message in your LinkedIn inbox pretending to be from a business person or company that wants to get to know you, do business with you or provide you with a huge money-making opportunity. Just click a link to connect with them.

Except, if you click the link, you're taken to a malicious website that tries to infect your computer or asks you to give up sensitive information. Just like with regular email, you need to be on your guard and not click on links in unsolicited email.

If you do get an email like this, look up the person or business on your own to see if they're on the up and up.

FAKE PROFILES

The other scam has someone set up a fake profile or two and try to connect with you. To grow your business network, you might accept a lot of LinkedIn invitations from other people without really checking them out.

Having a fake profile linked to you on LinkedIn is actually a big problem. Not only does having a number of linked legitimate profiles mean that the scammer has an easier time tricking others, the scammer can send you private messages.

These are going to be more targeted phishing scams designed to trick you out of money or information. Because the person is a contact, and has used your profile information to tailor the message to you personally, you're more likely to go along with it.

Warning: Think twice before you share your company's physical address, or email addresses, with anyone on LinkedIn. If you want your LinkedIn connections to be able to contact you, they can do that with "Send a message" on your profile page. Restrict your communication to there, until you're completely confident they are legitimate business people.

When it comes to protecting your business, and yourself on LinkedIn, you have plenty of options. Most important, don't panic if you have added a connection who turns out to be scammer or cybercriminal.

You can simply remove them as a connection. Double click "Connections" in the LinkedIn menu bar; under their name, choose "More," then "Remove connection." Before you do that, though, you may want to alert LinkedIn, so they investigate this person. Fortunately, LinkedIn makes it easy to do.

Here's how to alert LinkedIn:

1. Go to the person's profile page; click on their name (you may need to do this twice, depending on which page you start from).

2. Click on the down arrow to the right of the "Send a message" and "Endorse" buttons.

3. Select Block or Report.

4. Choose Report, to submit a person for review. Then, it's up to LinkedIn to figure out if that profile is legitimate, or a scammer. You can also choose Block if you just want to keep them away from your profile.

However, if you're really confident that your connection is a scammer or has a fake profile, you can submit a Notice of Inaccurate Profile Information. Click here for that form. LinkedIn will start an investigation of that person. Then, if you haven't already, be sure to block them from your connections (see No. 4 above).


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