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Data Doctors: Tips to Avoid LinkedIn Scams When Looking for a Job

On Data Doctors, Ken Colburn shares tips on how to navigate LinkedIn when looking for jobs.

Q: I have never used LinkedIn to search for a job. What should I pay attention to not get scammed?

A: LinkedIn is the largest social network for professionals, which also makes it a common way for scammers to deceive those looking for work.

They will use a host of tricks to trick people into letting their guard down, so it’s important to understand some of the red flags associated with employment scams.

Vague job descriptions

Often scammers promise you a good salary with very vague job descriptions, hoping that you are focusing on the salary and not on the job itself.

A real position should have a very clear description of the work offered, as well as the qualifications required.

Any job that offers to pay significantly more than anyone else in that industry should be viewed with great suspicion.

You can’t find them online

Before engaging with anyone on LinkedIn, it’s your responsibility to research them and the company they represent outside of the network.

In the age of social media and the need to have a web presence, if you can’t find anything about the company through various Google searches, that’s another huge red flag.

You can also search for images by dragging their profile picture to Google’s image search page.

If the image is a stock photo or is for someone with a different name, it’s a scam profile.

How complete is their profile?

A legitimate recruiter will have a profile filled with activity over a long period of time. If they haven’t posted anything recently or commented on posts, beware, because network engagement is a basic task for all recruiters.

Another big red flag is when there is no uploaded photo on the person’s profile, or very few connections.

Request for personal information

Although you will end up providing your personal information to any potential employer, it is not something they should ask for in the beginning.

Anyone who asks for your social security number or bank account information via a link sent via WhatsApp, email or any other direct communication tool should be seen as a red flag.

The person who interviews you is usually not the same person who will greet you, as this is usually the task of a human resources person.

You have to pay first

If you are asked to buy special equipment from a specific vendor or pay a fee to join, or if they offer to send you money to get started, these are all red flags.

Rigged documents

Just like email attachments, any document sent to you through any email app can be faked with malware or include a link to a malicious website. This is not a standard interaction with legitimate businesses.

Fake LinkedIn messages

It’s easy to spoof email notifications that appear to be from LinkedIn, so never click on a link in what appears to be a LinkedIn message.

If the notification is legitimate, it will appear on your profile interface when you visit LinkedIn through your phone app or browser.

You should also enable two-factor authentication to protect against attempts to steal your credentials.

Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any technical question on Facebook or Twitter.

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