LinkedIn lately seems to be getting “busier”. There seems to be more and more people over posting (not original content), sharing pictures (cats and dogs etc), games and other spammy material which don’t really add value to their connection.
The LinkedIn advantage is that it is a professional space, and it seems that in the panic for people to “get on LinkedIn” there is a typical lack of research put into place before creating a profile. Adding to this is the appearance of fake profiles which are created to mine your data and capture information. Some even steal identities. Unfortunately methods used by some to connect (such as Lion networks) I believe actually aid in this because these network growth strategies encourage the sharing of emails without any due diligence. If you just want big numbers and you connect to anyone, then you are not really going to care if a profile is fake or not.
LinkedIn have worked hard to try to prevent their platform being undermined by these scams. In particular one scheme involved hackers using Amazon Cloud to scrape data. (Read a business insider report here).
So what can we do to try to protect our data? It’s simple. Be selective with whom you connect with. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t connect with people you haven’t met or don’t know, but you should make sure that when you receive a connection it comes with a personalised message that lets you know why they want to connect. Take some time and check out their profile to see if it seems legitimate. If you are too “busy” to look at a profile and just click connect all the time, then really you are not using LinkedIn to your advantage.
These pointers may help you decide if a profile is legit:
1. Incomplete profile with no summary, or recommendations and very few details but may belong to many groups.
2. Dubious sounding job titles merely keywords or something like salesperson at salesperson
3. Using a stock photo for their profile. (You can check if an image is purchased by dragging it into the google image search box)