Social Media

A big fish sent me a LinkedIn connection request… but the fish wasn’t who he was pretending to be.

I was close to be duped by a fake LinkedIn pofile.

I received an invitation from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Gartner, one of the UK’s leading technology consultancies. And I have to say I was mighty flattered.  But one look at Craig David’s LinkedIn profile and I suspected it was a fake account.

Fake LinkedIn Profile Example

What were the clues that this is a fake account?

First, a profile picture that looked like it was stock phography.

I’m sure I have seen this photograph before, and I think it was for either insurance or double glazing advertising. Using free Google Reverse Image Lookup service, I checked other websites that were using the same image, and low and behold it revealed this is a stock photography image used on more than 600 websites:

Reverse Image Lookup for Profile Pictures on LInkedinNext, I did a simple Google web search for this person’s name, and it did not bring up any results that I would have expected, or any information about him at all.

And I also took a look through the Gartner website, and suprisingly enough, there was no mention of him there, either.

And of course, it was just a skeleton of a LinkedIn profile, with no work history, and no proper background information.

I have sent a little tweet out to the team over at Gartner to see if they’ll confirm or deny whether Craig David is an employee, but I have not had a reply after a week or so.

Tweet asking if Fake

So why did more than 500 LinkedIn users connect with this obviously fake account?

Well, the first thing to remember is that many of the connections for this account are highly likely to be fake themselves, or automated.  They are not “real” connections.

There was a certain level of credibility added to the account by virtue of participating in relevant business Groups. I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions as to why this fake account would be busy in LinkedIn groups…

LinkedIn Fake Groups

In terms of credibility, it is also worth noting that amongst the more than 500 connections in this account, I could see a dozen of my own contacts linked to this account, which also lends an air of credibility:

Fake LinkedIn Account - ContactsHow do you report a suspicious LinkedIn account?

There is a quite simple process to alert the LinkedIn team of suspicious accounts.

However, I have reported this account now twice, and no action has been taken yet by LinkedIn.

Here’s what you need to do:

How to report a fake LInkedIn profile

And you just need to fill in the simple form for LinkedIn review.

Reporting Form - LInkedIn

And you’ll get a confirmation message saying the account has been flagged for review.

fake linkedin 6Progress Review

As yet, I’ve not heard anything from LinkedIn Customer Services, and the Craig David account is still live.

I’ll keep you posted!

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