By Rabbi R. Karpov, Ph.D., CPRW, JCTC
Safer Linking is even more important now that ~2,000 people are signing on daily.
Many approach us for our mutual benefit; but some have other agendas. (The New Yorker cartoon caption, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog*,” is what comes to mind.)
LinkedIn recently rolled out the “Block or Report” feature – for reasons. The “or Report” part is designed to remove Bad Actors. Some are NOT who they say they are – if they in fact areanybody but scam-bots carefully engineered to “hook” us (this IS a multi-billion dollar business, we were told at the SBA meeting with FBI and the rest).
Since LinkedIn is business-based, it makes sense they would show up here, since the “419” scam involves an exchange of money – or access to it. NBCNews.com’s article, “Nigerian 419 Email Scammers Shift to Malware,” tells us how rapidly this problem is exploding.
Here are a few basic steps to optimize your, and your practice’s, safety.
Before Linking, Perform Due Diligence
First, check out the photo. (we learned this “Google Images” algorithm methodology from Robin Schlinger, several years ago).
- When you hover your cursor over the lower right-hand corner, it should be able to come up – allowing you to save it. Do so.
- Next, run that photo through “Google Images,” which you bring up on Google by typing that phase into the window, which then prompts you to upload. Now you can find some things out.
- Ways they could immediately come up Wrong: (a.) Stock Photo. (That wholesome-looking woman, it turns out, wasn’t really an Apple Computer VP ... nor was that her profile.) (b) Or worse: Real Photo, but hijacked: Either from someone living, such a military-man (to pluck that heart-string); or Miss World Philippines contestant #15 (thank you, Liz Ryan, for pointing that one out; or someone deceased (hey, that’s the late President of Zaire!)
Check out the rest of the general “picture”.
- Run the email address under ‘contact information’ through Google. Did it come up as known email address associated ONLY with scammer?
- Run the name through Google. What turned up?
- Run the name AND the email address through Google. Sometimes that is what turns up information that will make you glad you took this extra 5 minutes
An example of Wrong is Inappropriate romantic/promise-to-pay-back-the-money-soon email – there are actual sites like “Pig Busters | Scammer Awareness”.
BOTTOM LINE: If they’re Wrong, go directly to ‘Block or Report’; and ... guess what . . . REPORT THEM. (Methodology below; reasons why it’s better for YOU, for one thing, below THAT.)
HOW TO REPORT THEM to LinkedIn
- Go to the creep’s LinkedIn site (much as looking at this photo and the rest may gall you).
- In the top square with the Name, etc., is what looks like blue bar that says “Send a message.” The blue bar is actually two components, a rectangle and a square on the right with the downward-pointing isosceles triangle. Hover over the triangle.
- The pop-up menu appears. Hover over that, and select “Block or Report,” which opens to LinkedIn’s specifically telling you, “Choose this option if you think this person’s behavior is bad for the LinkedIn community.”
- Report them for “misrepresentation,” if that’s what it is: Why the photo is wrong, what else about this is fraudulent, and so forth. Explain briefly but specifically – LinkedIn WANTS to know, so they can Clean House.
In case you’re already gotten more than for what you’d bargained... ,
- If you’ve received Inappropriate Message, report THAT. (Someone who has to say they’re sorry for invading your privacy and then asks stalker-ish questions... that’s a Not-Pology. (I mean, they are sorry ... a sorry piece of work, that’s all.)
- NOW go back and unlink.
- Having done all of the above . . . it’s best to Block them while LinkedIn is removing them, so as to NOT optimize their chances of approaching your associates meanwhile!
- Your friends with whom they’ve also linked, will in general be grateful for a heads-up about this non-person.
And next time, next approach from those whose business is primarily monkey-business...
- Don’t let it get that far.
- That’s it. Same as #1.
Why It Is So Important That We REPORT THEM
Since a “Link” is half a “vouch,”’ remaining linked or letting our friends do so if we know better, DOES damage our brand, by damaging our credibility.
What should go without saying is that NOT passively letting your associates get hurt (even via time-wasting), should be common courtesy.
Even passive involvement is Bad Karma. These scam-bots WILL approach others, until stopped.
LinkedIn is very alert right now to NOT let itself become too-convenient grounds for stalking or Scam or any of that, and has rolled-out the ‘Block or Report’ feature. I credit them for that.
I also credit colleagues including Liz Ryan, Karleen Harp, Nina Ebert, Camille Carboneau-Roberts, obviously Robin Schlinger, and others, without whose input this article would not have been created.
*Peter Steiner, cartoon caption, ‘The New Yorker,’ magazine, July 5, 1993.