A spike in LinkedIn fraudulent activities has been reported with Linkedin itself acknowledging the uptick in the platform. Majority of the frauds are linked to cryptocurrency investments.
Linkedin, unlike other social networking platforms, is unique in the sense that the typical account holder is a professional in a given field and is there to connect with other professionals. As such, it’s more of a platform for the working class.
It’s this component that has made it a target for account holders with malicious intent. As of December 2021, according to CNBC, the company had removed more than 32 million fake accounts from its platform, according to its semiannual report on fraud. From July to December 2021, its automated defenses stopped 96% of all fake accounts — that includes 11.9 million that were stopped at registration and 4.4 million that were proactively restricted, the report said.
Additionally, LinkedIn stated that misinformation accounted for 207,522 content removals, followed by harassment or abuse (156,831), violent or graphic content (37,756), adult content (36,518), hateful or derogatory content (14,810), and child exploitation (125).
Fraudsters commonly direct users to a legitimate crypto investment platform, but after gaining their trust over several months, they ask them to transfer the investment to a site controlled by the fraudster. Afterward, the fraudster disappears with the money followed by cutting ties with the investor.
“It’s a significant threat. This type of fraudulent activity is significant, and there are many potential victims, and there are many past and current victims.” Sean Ragan, FBI special agent in charge of the San Francisco and Sacramento, California, field offices said in an interview with CNBC.
As the company continues fighting fraud, it published a blog post encouraging and asking users to be wary of fraudulent accounts, especially those “asking you to send them money, cryptocurrency, or gift cards to receive a loan, prize, or other winnings.”
“We also collaborate with peer companies, policymakers, law enforcement, and government agencies, in efforts to keep you safe,” says a section of the blog post.
Joining a Zoom meeting with a group of fraud victims who spoke on the condition of anonymity, a CNBC reporter was told of how “fraudsters hide behind successful companies” to swindle innocent users. The victims allegedly faced losses ranging from $200,000 to $1.6 million.
According to statistical data available on LinkedIn transparency reports, it’s evident the Covid-19 pandemic aggravated the creation of fake accounts. In the transparency report of the second half of 2019, for instance, the company reported a “decrease in the number of fake account registration attempts” while the transparency report of the first half of 2020 reports the company was “able to stop a large-scale effort that tried to create more than 33 million fake accounts” with a majority (98.4%) of which were blocked by the company’s automated defenses.