An update regarding fake LinkedIn invitations

December 26, 2011 at 5:32 pm 1 comment

In October of 2010, I wrote about a new scam in the form of fake LinkedIn invitations that appeared, at first glance, to be genuine. (See this post.) It looks as though the scam has resurfaced, in a somewhat different form. Over the past several days, I’ve received a number of notifications that someone on LinkedIn has sent me a message. (“So-and-So sent you a message via LinkedIn.”)  However, it’s obvious that the notifications aren’t legitimate.

For one thing, many of the messages have arrived at an e-mail address that I don’t use on LinkedIn. For another, unlike every genuine notification I’ve ever received from LinkedIn, they don’t include the text of the ostensible message. Instead, they instruct the recipient to click on a link in order to read the supposed message. That’s not a good idea, at least with respect to messages from people you don’t know and/or that you aren’t expecting.

When I place the mouse pointer over one of the links, I can see the “true” URL, which makes it readily apparently that the links are not what they appear to be — and would take me somewhere other than to my inbox on LinkedIn. (Note: That includes the link labeled “Adjust your message settings,” which purports to be a way of unsubscribing from unsolicited messages. It isn’t! Do NOT click it.)

But otherwise, the messages look more or less like the real thing. The color, layout, and even the copyright at the bottom appear similar to those used in legit LinkedIn notices. Clever, no?

Keep in mind that when someone actually sends you a message on LinkedIn, it will arrive in your LinkedIn mailbox. In other words, you should be able to read it from within your home page on LinkedIn. If you don’t see it there, it’s not the real thing.

I don’t know if clicking a link in one of the fake messages could infect your computer with a virus or other malware. For obvious reasons, I’m not willing to test, and you shouldn’t take chances, either. If the text of the message isn’t included, go ahead and delete the e-mail. (Remember that deleting a genuine message from your e-mail account won’t delete it from your inbox on LinkedIn.)

I’ll update this post if/when I find out more. In the meantime, it’s best to follow the time-tested advice, “Better safe than sorry.”

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Unraveling the Word Ribbon Start the new year right: Avoid e-mail hoaxes (and worse)!

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