LinkedIn crypto fraud: Since the FBI considers it a “significant threat”, what should you watch out for?

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Just as cryptocurrencies continue to grow in popularity, so do related scams aimed at stealing someone’s money. And no site is immune to their illegal intention, whether it is a family website of small business or even a established market leader and an online service focused on the job that specializes in career development and professional networking such as LinkedIn.

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According to the FBI, fraudsters using LinkedIn to lure and steal money from consumers through cryptocurrency investments pose a “significant threat” to both the platform and its users. In an exclusive interview with CBNC, Sean Ragan – the FBI’s special agent in charge of the San Francisco and Sacramento field offices – said the agency has seen a significant increase in investment fraud.

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Most employment scams use attractive, hard-to-detect approaches to target unemployed people to collect personal information from job forms or resumes on employment websites like Indeed or Zip Recruiter . And other scams promise guaranteed or easy income, for a price.

However, Ragan, the FBI, and LinkedIn are tracking a particular scam that involves impersonating professional employers. They record a false profile and contact a LinkedIn consumer, then the crook offers the victim the opportunity to earn money thanks to cryptographic investments. Or convince them to transfer their investments to scam crypto holding sites in time.

Using established sites is nothing new. The more a criminal can make his plan look legitimate, the better. People trust LinkedIn. It is a reputable business networking platform which, unfortunately, is still vulnerable to scammers.

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“So criminals, that’s how they make their money, that’s what they focus their time and attention on,” Ragan said. “And they’re always thinking about different ways to victimize people, victimize businesses. And they spend their time doing their homework, defining their goals and strategies, and the tools and tactics they use,” according to CNBC.

LinkedIn acknowledged the increase Ragan speaks of, but said it remains ever-vigilant in combating fraud on its site, telling CNBC, “We enforce our policies, which are very clear: fraudulent activity, including financial scams, are not allowed on LinkedIn. They added, “We work every day to keep our members safe, and that includes investing in automated and manual defenses to detect and address fake accounts, fake information and suspicions of fraud”.

According to LinkedIn’s semi-annual fraud report, 32 million fake accounts were removed from the site in 2021. Between July and December 2021, 96% of all fake accounts, including 11.9 million on signup and 4.4 million proactively restricted, were blocked by automatic defense measures, according to CNBC.

In addition, LinkedIn said that its automated defenses had intercepted 70.8 million people, or 99.1 % of spam and scams, during the same period.

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Still, that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying and adapting their methods to trick unsuspecting site users. Victims speaking with CNBC said they lost between $200,000 and $1.6 million to the thieves, and possibly their trust in LinkedIn as well.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to make a career change in 2016 and focus full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical degree in communications and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience writing for the retail industry.

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