Spamming has been around for a long time, first via email and as blogs started proliferating, spammers started polluting blogs, it was only a question of time before they started polluting social media platforms
Coming back to LinkedIn, two of the best way to get maximum exposure on LinkedIn are growing your network or participating in large, active discussion groups. Both imply creating a profile and since spammers learn early on that to effectively spam, they needed many identities, in case they were filtered out.
Over the past few years, we have seen a rapid increase in the number of fake profiles created by spammers either joining discussion groups or asking to join users networks, they usually target large active discussion groups and/or users with large networks, especially LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) who are not too selective in growing their network and allow spammers to develop their network based on first and second degree connections.
Of course, there are a number of ways to stop them, the first one is to be selective in who you accept in your network, the second is for group owners to be more proactive in monitoring who joins their groups and to not fall into the temptation to grow the size of their group at the expense of the quality of the discussion.
Both involve identifying bogus profiles and reporting them to LinkedIn (not likely to have an effect) and banning them from the discussion groups. An increasing number of large and active group owners have also closed their groups, meaning that to join the group, you have to send in a request.
6 ways to detect a fake LinkedIn profile
1- Works for a company that does not exist
2- Profile based in locations known for spamming
3- Unprofessional profile photo or no photo
4- Little if any professional experience. Spammers create bogus profiles knowing that their life span is limited, they will either be banned from groups or banned from LinkedIn (the less likely option) and they don’t put too much effort into them or they will build a profile quickly using bogus positions in well known companies usually resulting in a career that makes little sense
5-They will have a small network, usually built recently with users already connected to you
6-They join a large number of discussion groups, usually large and active for maximum post exposure.
You have identified a fake LinkedIn profile, what should you do?
I can’t tell you what to do, but we all have a role to play in keeping our communities healthy and informative
- You are a user: If you identify a fake user trying to connect to you, my advice would be to report it to LinkedIn but they do not make it easy and there is no guaranty they will act on the report
- Scroll to the bottom of the page, go to help center,
- click on contact us but first you will have to use the search, LinkedIn will not let you contact them otherwise, customer service is not their forte and as time goes by they make it more difficult to reach them.
- Fill out the form including their name and link to their profile
- You are a group owner: You have to be very proactive in monitoring who joins your discussion group and be focuses on a quality experience rather than growth at all cost
- You can do what many group owners have been doing, make your group member only, that means new member will have to request permission to enter the group, that will give you time to look at their profile first
- Ask for volunteer to help you manage and monitor your group
- Create rules
- Ban fake profiles already in your group when they spam but if you do not control who joins the group, spammers will create an other fake profile and get right back in.
- To report a fake LinkedIn profile