Faking It On LinkedIn For The Week (UPDATED Friday 7:10 AM ET)

I'm going to continue the LinkedIn Lovefest from last week by detailing here the fake connection requests I receive for the week as well as the subsequent research I conduct to determine how deep the cancerous root is growing. Your comments are always appreciated.

~Steve

FRIDAY

(2:22 AM ET) This profile of Anthony Field is another example of a self-employed person with an Americanized name and an American education (note – I've been seeing an inordinate number of fake profiles with UCLA as it's school of choice). Seemingly from Chicago and working in Banking, the email associated with "Mr. Field" is maverickwanimport@outlook.com and the Maverick Wan Import and Export was incorporated in Hong Kong on June 13, 2014.

THURSDAY

(12:01 AMET) "Maria- Elisabeth Schaeffler" (notice the hyphen and space), self-employed in a private business in the Czech Republic in the International Affairs sector (keep snickering) has 335 connections. 335 chumps (are their names John?) who accept without thinking and perpetuate LinkedIn's myths.

She won't have mine.

WEDNESDAY

(6:44 AM ET) I come from a Military family and in hindsight (and my WWII Vet Dad agrees) I grew up with my behind feeling the effects of PTSD (Dad and I are cool with things - I was a handful), so when I receive connection requests from miscreants using members of the US Military, it boils my blood.

Fortunately, this profile has already been deleted since I viewed the request a two hours ago but an image search on it revealed that the real soldier has been abused in a range of scams for over three years. Here's the romance scam.

With my blood bubbling out of control, I searched LinkedIn, First Name(general) and Country(Afghanistan): 19

Moving on to First Name(general) and Country(United States): 95

I went through a random clicking of these 114 profiles and all had spelling, grammatical, military, and location errors. C'mon LinkedIn, if you choose to do little at least go after these douchebags who pervert the great work of all those who served!

(3:03 AM ET) Speaking of weapons, the profile of Sophie Cameron might not be fake but...the profile selfie pic seems way out of place on a "professional" site like LinkedIn. Notice as well the lack of a location as well as the "odd" nature of the position titles.

I sent Sophie an InMail asking her about her profile picture and its appropriateness for LinkedIn. I'll update this post when I hear from her.

(9:13 AM ET) Daniel Wilfred looks innocuous enough; heck 22 big names are connected with him. Correction: As I'm typing this, another fool accepted his connection request.

Except they're unaware that his profile is fake. Image searching led to this profile:

then checking LinkedIn for other instances of Mr. Wilfred produced these beauties:

Damn, Danny Wilfred sure gets around the globe! Hire him immediately!

Seriously, these four "LinkedIn users" have 1,392 connections between them.

This is fraudulent.

TUESDAY

Not quite a connection request - but an email outreach that led to me doing 2 minutes of research; read this line by line – you might notice a thing or two:

Subject: Would you like to reduce your cost?

Dear Steve,

We apologize for this unsolicited email. This email intends you to introduce “Acute Outsourcing Ltd”, the recruitment company assisting you in placing the right person for the right job. We aim to save your high costs which you spend in having access of job boards.  Our five year experience in recruitment and outsourcing industry motivate our clients to enhance their business by reducing their direct costs.

We have our own automated database and have access to the leading Jobs Board like Reed, Total Jobs, Job Site, CV Library, Monster, CW Jobs, Planet Recruit, Just Engineers, NHS JOBS, etc.

Our core services include;

1.       Head Hunting

2.       Pre-qualification

3.       CVs search, and

4.     Database Management

Our professional team does this by;

  • Understanding the client’s needs
  • Identifying the best available talent
  • Concentrating on premium quality candidate sourcing
  • Delivering the service with transparency
  • Dedicated staff and management system

It is obvious that you cannot assess our company merely through by this email. For this purpose we are offering “Unpaid Trial” for two job role so that you can understand more about our capabilities and potential. If you find that our search is in accordance to your job roles specifications, you can establish a permanent, temporary or ad-hoc basis contract with us.

Numbers of recruitment agencies and employers are meeting their candidate resourcing needs by taking advantage of our sourcing services through our dedicated Resourcers. Our team is engaged in reducing any kind of outsourcing burden. In short, our company is offering tailored services that are fair enough to meet your candidate sourcing needs.

Feel Free to Contact us or request a Call back.

Best Regards

Billy Tait

Marketing Manager

Acute Outsourcing Inc.

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7193 1831 

E Mail: billy@acuteoutsourcing.com

URL: http://www.acuteoutsourcing.com/

With visions of a grammatical cesspool dancing in my head, I checked out Mr. Tait's profile on LinkedIn; there are red flags galore with this work of art. Back to emails for a bit.

I emailed Mr. Tait back (my italics):

Billy

Please remove me from your email marketing list

Cheers

Steve

...to which he responded with (my italics):

Sure dear you can’t see me in future.

bye

Huh? I had to find out:

I'll wager your name isn't even Billy

then:

For someone with so much education, it's laughable to see the plethora of grammatical errors in your email

I must have piqued Mr. Tait's interest because he replied (again, I'm not editing, just pasting):

Dear steve,

If u want to be my teacher will u point out my errors

Steve: What is your real name?

Billy: Will u tell me one thing you asked me to remove you form my emails database

But you send me emails. One and other are u free and work to do :)

Imaged search his LinkedIn profile pic; go here to see his mug (scroll through the images):

http://www.nsbm.co.in/ which curiously enough has the same web design format as this:

http://bluebizindia.com/

Checked LinkedIn for others working at Acute Outsourcing:

Daven Morning AND Daven Morgan? Surprised?

MONDAY

sylvia andrews (5:04AM ET) :: This one is obvious from the lowercase name to the 9 years of education to "the look" that screams SPAM! About 30 seconds later, I had this link. Love is such a many splendored thing.

Coleen Smith (9:18AM ET) :: I'm dubious of any connection request these days that come from a DM or lead gen firm. Coleen works at TouchPoints Global (TPG on "her" profile) as a Social Media Marketing Specialist. Her only email is via Hotmail.

Searching LinkedIn for current Touchpoints Global "employees" produces 30 profiles with very similar profiles and job descriptions – and attractive women. The one exception is Jorge Levy, a developer. Something smells rotten here.

pat webb (10:45AM ET) :: Aaaaand, as I'm writing this (10:55AM ET), I noticed another request, lowercase and all. What's funny are the three people I have in common with pat webb; should I tell them?

Views: 2211

Comment by Sharon Hill on March 10, 2015 at 10:26am

I am getting so much of this as well. Now, if I don't know anybody who invites me no matter how legit they sound, they don't get to join my network. And if someone who joins my network immediately follows with a solicitation I kick them out. I'm as tired of the time wasted trying to determine legitimacy as I am of the spam. 

Comment by Lisa J. Green on March 10, 2015 at 12:07pm

This is great info, thanks so much for sharing Steve! I must admit that I chuckled - an enjoyable read about a very real and growing problem. I'm checking my connections against your list of "fakes" now :)

Comment by Marjie Gray on March 10, 2015 at 12:13pm

This information is overdue! Time to clean up LinkedIn...

Comment by Steve Levy on March 10, 2015 at 12:27pm

Thanks Lisa, Marjie. And LinkedIn is ill-prepared to deal with it. Been speak with their Trust & Safety people and am really disappointed with how they're handling the problem.

Funny thing is that I told Matt Carney and Pete Radloff that I guarantee that LinkedIn will be paying special attention to my account over the next few weeks so I don't receive fake requests and write about them. This is the first week in months where I haven't received any fake connection requests.

Comment by Lisa J. Green on March 10, 2015 at 12:40pm

Yes, you know they will Steve. I'll certainly forward any I receive onto you :)

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on March 11, 2015 at 3:55pm

LinkedIn has not given me my email quota, although I received 6 responses yesterday (all with the headline "we will credit you 1 inmail").   I pointed this out to them, and they generously gave me 1 inmail for my troubles (I mailed them all six to show them what I was talking about).

They blithely ignored that, didn't apologize, and also ignored that I pointed out multiple bugs and defects in the system.  For instance, they are incorrectly showing me with a 3% response rate (my response rate is about 25%, over a period longer than a year)... and their 'feedback' score function has been stuck on the same number for the past three months, so obviously broken.

In addition to all the fake profiles and the continued scalping of our money, and violations of the terms of the agreement, this is just another problem, but it clearly shows an intent to defraud and general negligence, I think.

Comment by Ian R McAllister on March 17, 2015 at 11:42am

This is a continuing problem on LI. At one point they had 25pages of people named "Bart Simpson" (some legitimate), many of whom were bright yellow skin toned and lived in Springfield. LI CS eventually cleared that lot out, but now we have a new problem. Basically, a few years back an LI connection was worth $1/connection, then it went down to around 10c, and now its back around 50c. You can find many "I need 1,000-5,000 LI connections in 48hrs" type jobs on the freelance hub websites, so various agencies are now craeting these either for ushc jobs or because of. Also, many people do not want the hassle of building their own networks, so will also pay to buy such a pre-formed profile.

Interesting Steve that most of your fake requests seem US based, I'm UK based and most of mine now come from the Middle East/UAE. They also use the same US-educational profile history, and some very think job history which most often doesn't time-line wise work - huge gaps or huge periods of employment for someone who would not have been born then.

I am pretty sure that I am connected to some existing fake profiles, but cull them out when they reveal themselves or start spamming me. However, I also conclude that LI's growth drive -e specially the premium membership trial on sign-up, along with their under staffed/slow CS, is not at all helping. Also wonder if the need to drive the stock price is behind this?

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