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How dangerous is LinkedIn? The beautiful 30-something who encouraged me to “invest” — in her scam



“FBI says fraud on LinkedIn a ‘significant threat’ to platform and consumers”: NBC

The scams that attempt to separate older people — and not so older ones — from their money are legion. One woman on Facebook, whose picture I never saw, attempted to do it to me by hacking into an account of one of my friends and making believe that she was he.


I went along with the scam to see if I could nail that person with fraud. However, I could not do so without actually falling for the scam, and that would have required me to pay $1,000 so that I could get a one-time payment of $50,000.


No crime without losing some money.


Which is why the scams on LinkedIn are so dangerous. They start in this way.


The enticement by the woman


What I discovered with the scam on LinkedIn is that the perpetrators are so cunning and resourceful — unlike my one experience with the Facebook scam.

I have also had young, beautiful women do the same on Twitter, and they add some alluring photos. I just left Twitter, so will not have to worry about those.

However, when it occurred on LinkedIn last year, I was shocked. LinkedIn is the most reputable social media site because it is made up of professionals, or so I thought, although that may be like saying that it is at the top of the dregs of society.


Since LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft, it also has an allure for the more educate in society.


Now, however, the headlines are showing how dangerous a site LinkedIn may really be.


The woman who attempted to entice me to join her was obviously looking for money, but her allure was much different from most of the messages that I received.


The enticement was well-prepared. She had constructed a beautiful resume on LinkedIn in which she bragged of being a well-educated, Estee Louder executive. Her message talked about seeing a message of mine and liked it.


She said that she was 36, had a beautiful photo on her site. How old am I?

Yes, that latter question registered high on the scam meter. Why would a woman of 36 care about anyone who is 75 —except that younger women know that older men sometimes have money.


Red Flag number 1.

I was shocked when I received a message from her and she started engaging me in a friendly conversation. She started with the fact that she was in Singapore working for Estee Lauder, but she had been educated in Canada and lived in Philadelphia — a tie for me since I listed my education as being at Penn State University, among others in Pa.

She said that she enjoyed one of my posts, which was somewhat extraneous to what we were discussing. This continued, and she asked for my email, mentioning that she saw that I had taught English in college.


Another red flag.

I gave her one of my Yahoo addresses that I seldom use. She then told me of a great business opportunity in the States in which she had invested some of her income from Estee.

Red Flag number 3.

How far was I going to take this?

I then went further, and I searched her name on other social media. On Facebook, I found a site with the Estee Lauder link, but no photos of her face or from the front, only the back.

Red Flag number 4.


Finally, she set me up with a phone call to “talk,” and I realized that this had gone far enough.


I never reported this to LinkedIn, but perhaps I should have.

Then I read this about the FBI investigation into LinkedIn, and I realized that I was wrong.


Cryptocurrency


I never pursued this woman’s scam far enough to figure out what she wanted me to invest in, but now I now: Cryptocurrency, which appears to be one of the biggest financial scams in history.


Although Mark Cuban differs — on LinkedIn.

And I used to trust him.


Anyway, here is what the FBI is investigating right now, and it is scary, and it ties into what this woman did to me,


Fraudsters who exploit LinkedIn to lure users into cryptocurrency investment schemes pose a “significant threat” to the platform and consumers, according to Sean Ragan, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the San Francisco and Sacramento, California, field offices.

“It’s a significant threat,” Ragan said in an exclusive interview. “This type of fraudulent activity is significant, and there are many potential victims, and there are many past and current victims.”


The scheme works like this: A fraudster posing as a professional creates a fake profile and reaches out to a LinkedIn user. The scammer starts with small talk over LinkedIn messaging, and eventually offers to help the victim make money through a crypto investment. Victims interviewed by CNBC say since LinkedIn is a trusted platform for business networking, they tend to believe the investments are legitimate.

Scott Zamost and Yasmin Khorram, “FBI says fraud on LinkedIn a ‘significant threat’ to platform and consumers,” CNBC, June 19, 2022


This is exactly what she was trying to do. Had I talked to her on the phone that Sunday, I would have discovered this.


The following day, her LinkedIn bio had disappeared along with her Facebook page.


How does this work?


According to the story about the FBI case, here is the way it works, and this woman was in it for the long term with me,

Typically, the fraudster directs the user to a legitimate investment platform for crypto, but after gaining their trust over several months, tells them to move the investment to a site controlled by the fraudster. The funds are then drained from the account.


“So the criminals, that’s how they make money, that’s what they focus their time and attention on,” Ragan said. “And they are always thinking about different ways to victimize people, victimize companies. And they spend their time doing their homework, defining their goals and their strategies, and their tools and tactics that they use.”


Ragan said the FBI has seen an increase in this particular investment fraud, which is different from a long-running scam in which the criminal pretends to show a romantic interest in the subject to persuade them to part with their money. The FBI confirmed it has active investigations but could not comment since they are open cases.


Scott Zamost and Yasmin Khorram, CNBC, June 19, 2022


LinkedIn responded that they have seen a “slight uptick” in fraud on their site, but that they are making every effort to keep its members safe.


In reality, LinkedIn may be just more a Yuppie fraud pasture than the cowboy efforts on Facebook.


In either case, they are both dangerous.


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