There are a wide variety of social media platforms, many of which cater to a very specific group of users. LinkedIn, the career-minded social media site, helps users connect with each other through and across various industries. As such, it’s for messaging, finding new contacts, exploring new career opportunities and other related activity.
But LinkedIn may just be the latest platform to fall victim to a flood of “spoofing” scams. Reports to the Better Business Bureau show some LinkedIn users have been receiving personal loan offers that appear to come from legitimate site users who work for real companies. However, these loan offers are scams.
According to the BBB, “You get a LinkedIn message offering you financing for a personal loan. It comes from someone who appears to work for a legitimate company. You check out their LinkedIn profile, and it looks real. You may even have several LinkedIn connections in common. Some scammers will also set up a fake company website.”
There are several possibilities related to how this may be happening. The first is that scammers, as indicated above, make fake profiles and spend some time gathering connections in order to reach new victims. Another possibility is that someone can hack an account; the person whose account sent out the message may not even realize someone is using their account. Also, a scammer can create a whole new profile using an existing person’s name, photo and work experience in order to lure existing connections into falling for the message.
Once the message goes out, the thief is after personal information via the bogus loan application and money in the form of a “processing fee” to complete the loan application.
As with any method of social media messages, users have to be very careful about the kinds of information they share and how they respond. Scams and hoaxes are quite common on the different platforms, so using good judgment means treating every potential opportunity—whether it comes from a stranger, a connection or an account belonging to a trusted friend or colleague—with an air of caution.
Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.