On Good Morning America yesterday, they ran a story on how scammers are targeting job search sites (LinkedIn, Indeed, etc.). After watching that clip, you might wonder how someone could fall victim to such a scam. It’s easy to be skeptical of email scams because they’ve been in existence almost as long as email itself. But when it comes to social media scams, it’s sometimes a little harder to discern. After all, you have a level of trust with your connections and they couldn’t possibly share something false or harmful. Right? Wrong!
I regularly receive LinkedIn requests from people I do not know or have never met. Since I’m not a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker), I tend to be selective when determining whether or not to accept the request. I’ve been a member of LinkedIn since October 2007 and I’d like to think my “scam detector” is pretty accurate after all of these years.
A few weeks ago, I received a LinkedIn connection request that immediately had several red flags. The top 3 concerns I had were:
- The first thing I noticed was that this person claimed to be a professional in my industry. While I have an extensive established network, especially in the marketing field, I do not know everyone. Yet, we had at least 10 connections in common. Supposedly.
- The second thing that caught my eye was the use of ALL CAPS for her first name. That’s certainly not a guarantee of a fake profile since some people intentionally do little tricks with how their name is displayed to stand out. And, stand out she did.
- The third thing I noticed was how glamorous her profile picture was. This wasn’t just a picture of an attractive person – she looked like a movie star! And surprise, surprise, the picture IS of a movie star. Emily Blunt, meet your alias, NAOMI Thomas. How did I figure that out? By using a reverse image search on Google! This page from Google Support explains how to do that.
So now that you know how to conduct a reverse image search, I suggest you search for your own profile picture to make sure a scammer isn’t using your image for dishonest purposes. After all, images of regular users are less likely to raise suspicion than a movie star. If you find your image being used by a scam account, report it to that website immediately. And as for NAOMI Thomas? LinkedIn has removed her profile. 🙂