FBI Says Fraud on LinkedIn Is a ‘Significant Threat’ to Americans – Here’s How to Avoid It

LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky
Kelly Sullivan /Getty

The FBI recently stated that investment fraudsters exploiting Microsoft’s business networking platform LinkedIn pose a “significant threat” to the company and its users. Breitbart News has several suggestions for avoiding scams on the social media platform commonly used by business professionals.

CNBC reports that the FBI has announced that cryptocurrency investment fraudsters on the business networking platform LinkedIn pose a “significant threat” to users and the platform itself. Sean Ragan, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the San Francisco and Sacramento, California, field offices made the comment during a recent exclusive interview.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (TOBIAS SCHWARZ/Getty)

Illustration of cybercrime (Photo credit should read "HELMUT FOHRINGER/APA-PictureDesk via AFP") Helmut Fohringer / APA-PictureDesk / APA


“It’s a significant threat,” Ragan said. “This type of fraudulent activity is significant, and there are many potential victims, and there are many past and current victims.”

Fraudsters pose as professionals creating fake LinkedIn profiles and then begin interacting with other users, starting small talk over LinkedIn messaging. Eventually, they offer to help victims make money via a cryptocurrency investment; due to the trust users have in the LinkedIn platform, many believe that the investment opportunities are legitimate.

The fraudsters instruct the users to visit a legitimate crypto investment platform, but after gaining their trust over months, instruct them to move to a site controlled by the fraudster. The fraudsters then drain the money from the user’s account.

“So the criminals, that’s how they make money, that’s what they focus their time and attention on,” Ragan said. “And they are always thinking about different ways to victimize people, victimize companies. And they spend their time doing their homework, defining their goals and their strategies, and their tools and tactics that they use.”

Ragan said that the FBI has seen a major increase in this type of fraud and has active investigations into the issue. LinkedIn acknowledged the issue, telling CNBC that “we enforce our policies, which are very clear: fraudulent activity, including financial scams, are not allowed on LinkedIn. We work every day to keep our members safe, and this includes investing in automated and manual defenses to detect and address fake accounts, false information, and suspected fraud.”

The company added: “We work with peer companies and government agencies from across the world with the goal of keeping LinkedIn members safe from bad actors. If a member encounters or is the victim of a scam we ask that they report it to us and to local law enforcement.”

Oscar Rodriguez, LinkedIn’s senior director of trust, privacy and equity, commented that “trying to identify what is fake and what is not fake is incredibly difficult.” He added: “One of the things that I would really love for us to do more is get into proactive education for members. Letting members know or basically allowing them to understand the risks that they might face.”

LinkedIn is a common part of life for many readers with corporate jobs. There are several steps you can take to avoid being the next victim of LinkedIn scammers.

1) Beware the long con

Americans have a tendency to believe fraudsters are out for a quick hit, and while that is sometimes true, it isn’t a sure thing. The common LinkedIn attack involves building trust over multiple months, a form of “long con” designed to make the target trust the scammer. Even if you feel like you know your LinkedIn connections, keep them at arm’s length until you’ve verified their identies.

2) Links get you in trouble
As is the case with a massive Facebook Messenger scam, LinkedIn fraudsters send legit links that eventually lead to scam sites. Treat links on every social media platform as potential hacks and scams. If a LinkedIn friend sends you a link to a legit crypto site like Coinbase.com, consider navigating to the site directly without a link.

3) Consider your Linkedin security settings

You are harder to target for a scam if you aren’t quite as searchable as most people. LinkedIn includes multiple privacy settings that allow you to hide your identity from users you don’t know.

Read more at CNBC here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com


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