Avoiding invites from “Fake” LinkedIn Profiles

I'm noticing increased numbers of LinkedIn "invites" are "bogus" profiles. As a professional Recruiter I'm always keen to network but only with real people, so I'm selective around invites I accept or reach out to. Yet the latest invite from an obviously "fake profile" actually shared 13 first connections with me, all genuine business or hr professionals. So this shows bogus profiles are gaining connectivity with professionals who should have spotted the fake.

Connecting with a fake profile does nothing to enhance the validity and quality of any professional LinkedIn network, so this got me thinking are some Recruiters or Hiring Managers so driven to become more “connected” that quality control goes out the window?  Or do some people have their eyes closed when they hit the  invite “accept” button?  I suspect it might be a combination of both!


Or does it not matter who we accept into our networks?  I think it does because a) like any database, LinkedIn is network only as good as the quality of information you connect with and put into it and b) anyone who goes to the trouble of setting up a fake profile, then sending invites around the world isn’t bored with nothing else to do. Criminal strategies work beyond the comprehension of most law-abiding folk and there’s always a reason behind an action, with potential outcomes that may be detrimental to the unsuspecting few. Candidate fraud is common in the recruitment industry and whilst most LinkedIn profiles have a degree misrepresentation (even a 10 year old photo can be slightly misleading!)  the common “fake” profile is pretty easy to spot if you take a minute to research the person you’re about to connect with:

  • The photo is a “glamour shot” looking like a model straight out of a Calvin Klein fashion shoot
  • The persons name is fake or can’t be matched with their other details
  • The University or Tertiary Institute they graduated from often doesn’t exist
  • The Company and role currently working in doesn’t exist
  • They always reach out with an invite to you
  • They generally come from countries outside of your own domestic market

All it takes to validate a random invite is a quick check of these details on Google or any other search engine. These people are not trying that hard to fool anyone, as they know most people will accept an invite without bothering to do any checking.  Whilst connecting with fake profiles is relatively low risk to financial integrity, they can’t help but compromise the quality of your professional database and networks so perhaps its worth taking a little more the time to review invites before pushing the accept button!  Building networks on-line is not worth compromising  for anything less than you’d accept from a face to face relationship.

Have a look at this post along with others from Chris’ LinkedIn pages.

This does not only affect recruiters, but individual professionals too. According to Rushing News there are a growing number of hackers targeting professionals on LinkedIn, according to security firm Symantec.
Their investigation uncovered dozens of fake accounts on the social network, across a variety of industries, see more about this on the video below.

Did you like this blog post? Chris has a new blog on the importance of sending informative rejection letters to candidates coming up…