How to spot fake Linkedin profiles used for spam

In many ways, I love Linkedin.  It is a place for professionals who are serious about their career or business to meet other professionals, develop new relationships, and win together.

After I sold my first company in 2005, I moved to Boulder Colorado and was seeking the advice of angels and venture capitalists about what to do next and how to find potential co-founders.  A guy told me that I should join Linkedin.  I had to ask him to repeat himself because I had never heard of Linkedin.  At the time, Linkedin barely had one million members.

Fast forward to 2016 and Linkedin has over 300 million members.  The problem is, like anything else that becomes popular, you start to get scammers, exploiters, fakers, haters, predators, and exploiters.  There are a few on Linkedin.

So what is the problem?

Well, the problem is that we already get too much email in our inbox and the last thing we need is more spam coming into our lives and creating more noise.  And, since Google and other email systems will block incoming mail in a binary way, it is difficult for those email systems to let you know which incoming messages from Linkedin are spam or not.  They have basically circumvented the traditional email spam filters.  So, you have to either endure the spam or possibly miss the legitimate opportunities.

How to spot the fake Linkedin profiles

There are some pretty obvious clues as to whether or not a Linkedin profile might be fake and you should just ignore the request or report it to Linkedin as spam.  One is the profile photo that is just way to sexy for the job position.  Knowing that many guys can’t resist an invite from an attractive woman, the fakers will put a photo of an attractive woman in the profile photo.

Photos too sexy for Linkedin

This profile photo is a little too like Glamour Shots to be a professional photo for a New York City Police Department (NYPD) police officer, don’t you think?

For a data developer, she really shows off her assets.  Why doesn’t she capitalize her first and last name?  That is a little odd.  Seems pretty hot for a data developer.

What does her leg have to do with Information Technology and Services? Unless it is a porn site.

Strange Linkedin endorsement patterns

Look again at the NYPD police officer Glamour Shots profile.  It is amazing that she has 99+ endorsements for skill after skill after skill.  She must be extraordinarily skilled.  But what is strange is that the same people endorse her for many different skills.  That is another red flag.

Aside from that, when you look at her experience, she has only listed one job, no dates, and no description or explanation of her duties, responsibilities, or accomplishments.  For somebody with 500+ connections and 99+ endorsements for a dozen skills, it is odd that she hasn’t worked anywhere other than NYPD and there is no elaboration on her work experience.

Just as bad as too many endorsements by too few endorser is a bunch of skills with no endorsements.

This skills list above is from a guy who supposedly worked in business development for 20 years, yet not a single person from his connections felt compelled to endorse a single skill of his.  I’d call that a red flag.

Writers who cannot write

Look at Eve’s profile above.  According to her experience, she has been freelance writing for 6 years but her background summary is pretty sparse and she doesn’t elaborate at all on her work experience.  Even though she has 219 connections and 6+ years experience, she hardly has any endorsements and the few endorsements she has have all been by the same basic endorsers.

No personal information of accomplishments

Why would she copy and past information about UMASS Boston instead of writing about what she learned, accomplished, or participated in during college?

Multiple invites, same company, different profiles

How funny, in 2 days I received 2 requests from 2 pretty girls from the same company (Budget Maestro) with bogus Linkedin profiles.  Dead give away.

Fake Linkedin Profile: Cute Photo, Same Endorsers

So, this one features a girl with a really cute photo but her experience is about the company, not her.  And, the few endorsments she has are all by the same people. Clearly a fake Linkedin profile.

Fake Linkedin Profile from top to bottom

Look at the profile below and note the red flags:

  • Photo a bit too sexy for Linkedin
  • Experience only talks about the company, not her responsibilities or accomplishments
  • 2 years working experience but only 1 endorsement, all from same endorser
  • 200 connections but only 1 endorser

I hope these fakers can take the time to get a bit more creative in their Linkedin profiles.  Either that or I hope Linkedin takes a more proactive stance towards outing the fakes so the quality of its platform doesn’t decline.

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