Beware of fake LinkedIn profiles: Symantec

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Dec 07, 2015 (LBO) – Global security software giant Symantec calls the users of LinkedIn to be skeptical when using the service as incidents involving fake LinkedIn accounts are on the rise.

Boasting over 400 million users, the Business-oriented social networking service, is a prime target for scammers looking to connect with professionals in a variety of industries, Symantec said.

Symantec has recently carried out a research on the fake accounts of LinkedIn.

As per their research findings, most of the fake accounts follow a specific pattern:

1. They bill themselves as recruiters for fake firms or are supposedly self employed
2. They primarily use photos of women pulled from stock image sites or of real professionals
3. They copy text from profiles of real professionals and paste it into their own
4. They keyword-stuff their profile for visibility in search results

The primary goal of these fake 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.

“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.” Symantec said.

According to Symantec, there are a few ways users can identify fake accounts:

• Do a reverse-image search (e.g., tineye.com offers a browser plugin)
• Copy and paste profile information into a search engine to locate real profiles

Symantec says users of LinkedIn should be very skeptical of who they add to their network.

“If you’ve never met the person before, don’t just add them. We weren’t surprised to learn that these fake LinkedIn accounts received endorsements from real users.” Symantec further said.

If you suspect that you’ve identified a fake LinkedIn account, report it to the Fake Profile section of the LinkedIn help center.