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June 2012
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August 2012

Why You Should Be Careful About Accepting Invitations On LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a formal suggestion that you not connect to people you don't know on LinkedIn.  Open Networkers (LION for LinkedIn Open Networker) and recruiters in general, tend to ignore this, but I wanted to share with you a reason not to do this. 

A profile asked for a connection earlier today.  It was a pretty young lady named Kambree Derucher with a profile, two companies worked at, and 71 connections.  

I searched Kambree Derucher, and found nothing on Google. That was weird, because LinkedIn usually has profiles unless they are deliberately turned off. So I checked her connections.  

Every connection had a first name that started with J and a last name that started with D.

Knowing this was now a spam account, I did a TinEye reverse image search on the profile picture, and found the image was actually that of a murdered young college student from a few years back.  I notified LinkedIn and posted this on Facebook, where I hear from Stacy Donovan Zapar, who says she received 100 invites from people whose first name started with A and last name started with A. 

Who was the spammer?  Someone looking to access email addresses probably. Maybe I'd get a message in the future, or a text message.  Maybe they would use my name or picture to trick some of my connections into linking to them. It's hard to say.  But this much we can say. 

1) If you have a funny feeling about a profile, check it out using Google TinEye, and the connections.  Recognize that if the spammer has been active long enough, they may have your friends as connections (which means you need smarter friends). 

2) If you're a guy over the age of 25, and young pretty women want to connect to you on Facebook - don't.  I mean really guys, at the very least do a little research, because it's embarrassing when the spammer does get caught and you're listed as a friend. 

3) It's not a bad idea to have a separate email address for your social media accounts, keeping it out of your business and personal emails.  This may seem like a pain, but as more platforms are targeted, you run the risk of having all of your personal information compromised. 

4) Keep personal information personal.  As much as possible, leave out your home address, home phone numbers, and information about your children.  There's no hiding completely, but if you make it easy, you're opening yourself up to risk. If you do post personal information, code it.  Guys like Craig Fisher just numbers his children.  Others come up with personal names.  Many wait to post vacation photos until they return home.

5) Finally, learn to log out of google, facebook, twitter, and other sites from your phone and laptop. It's a pain to type them in, but that access can lead to information leaking across networks.

You can't be paranoid about safety, but you can be, well, safer.