LinkedIn is a great platform that helps professionals in a number of ways. The quality of the articles published there is generally good. One can find lots of information concerning many different aspects related to business.
However, the main aim of LinkedIn is to get people in contact with one another. The process to connect with another person is started with the sending of an invitation.
So you receive an email with the invitation to connect from an individual you have never met and never heard of. Your initial stance is that the more people you connect to, the better it is for your professional life. On the other hand, connecting to bad company may tarnish your reputation. Over the years I have devised a process that eliminates, as much as possible, those who are using LinkedIn for fraud.
The process starts when an invitation, like the one below, arrives in my mailbox.
Rather than click on the Accept button straight away, I always visit the Profile page of the person sending the invitation.
The first thing I ask myself is why this person, who I don’t know, felt the need to connect to me. Perhaps it is because he is interested in the online accounting software my company offers. So I try to dig a bit deeper. Surely enough, his profile seems okay and looks like that of a normal and honest person.
At the same time, I know that anyone can create such a “believable” profile. So I wonder if the picture used for this profile has been used somewhere else. Thankfully Google provides a tool to help us answer that question.
We need to get the URL (the internet address) of the image. This is done by moving the mouse pointer on the image and then right-click the image. A menu appears and click on the Copy image URL choice.
Next open Google Image Search (https://images.google.com/) and click on the camera symbol.
Move the mouse pointer within the search box and after a right-click on the mouse, select Paste. The URL should appear within the search box as shown above. If the URL was not pasted in the box, go back to the LinkedIn page and copy the URL again as described above.
Click on the Search by Image button and wait for the results.
The results obtained clearly show that the picture attached to the profile is one that is available on a good number of other sites. There is also another LinkedIn profile using the same picture.
This is ample proof that the owner of the LinkedIn Connection Request is a fake and probably wants to connect to me in order to try and con me.
This is great!! I have saved myself some bad reputation. “Bad reputation?”, you might say. When this person sends invitations to others I am connected with, they can see that I am already connected to this person. In a way, I am condoning the connection, leading others to fall in a trap they might not be aware of.
I have also saved myself from being prey of this person.
Should I just ignore the invitation and leave it at that? NO!! It is my duty to report this criminal. LinkedIn offers a simple and easy way to report this.
On the right hand of the Send … InMail button there is a small triangle that when clicked on the menu shown in figure 7 appear. Continue to select the Block or report and then follow the instructions provided.
We need to remain vigilant on all our connections on the Internet. There is a lot of social engineering going on and falling prey of any one of these may land us in a lot of trouble.