With LinkedIn being one of the largest professional networking platforms, users receive numerous messages daily. While most are well-intentioned, some could be scams or spam. Here are tips to assess if a LinkedIn message is legitimate.
Check the sender’s profile
Examine the sender’s profile carefully before responding. See if they have a complete profile with detailed work history, education, skills, recommendations etc. Profiles with sparse details could be fake accounts used for spamming. Legitimate users tend to have robust profiles.
Also see if you have any shared connections. Having common connections indicates the person is likely real and established on LinkedIn.
Look for personalized messages
Messages that specifically mention your name, company, role, projects, skills etc. have a higher chance of being genuine. Spammers typically send generic messages en masse without personalization.
However, some sophisticated scammers may include limited personal details scraped from your profile to seem authentic. So personalized messages alone don’t guarantee legitimacy.
Be wary of suspicious links and attachments
Spam messages often contain links to phishing websites designed to steal personal information. Others may have malware-laden attachments.
Even if the message seems personalized, think twice before clicking on links or downloads from unknown senders. Hover over the links to see where they really lead.
Watch for unusual requests and offers
Scammers try to entice users with lucrative job offers, investment opportunities, prizes etc. Be skeptical of such offers, especially if they seem too good to be true.
Also be cautious of requests for personal or banking information, donations, urgent help etc. Even messages asking you to verify your account, log in through an alternate link etc. could be phishing attempts.
Consider the message content
Typos, grammatical errors, awkward phrasing are red flags of automated spamming bots. But some spammers may have well-written messages too.
Generic introductions like “Dear sir/madam”, offers unrelated to your background, request to contact outside LinkedIn etc. should raise suspicion. Legitimate messages tend to be professional and relevant.
Watch for follow-up persistence
Spammers often send repeated messages, even if you don’t respond. Genuine contacts are less likely to follow-up aggressively if you ignore their initial outreach.
However, recruiters and sales prospects may send a couple of follow-ups to re-establish contact. So persistence alone doesn’t guarantee spam.
Notice message frequency
If you suddenly receive an influx of similar messages, it may be a spam attack targeting LinkedIn members. Report such activity to LinkedIn.
However, increased legitimate outreach is common during job transitions or when you upgrade your profile. So frequency alone doesn’t imply spam.
Pay attention to connection requests
Spammers often send connection requests and message soon after connecting. But receiving a connection request alone does not mean the person is illegitimate.
Still, scrutinize profiles of unknown connection requests before accepting. Spammers create fake accounts to expand networks and reach more people.
Be cautious with third-party apps
Third-party LinkedIn apps requesting excessive permissions or contacting your connections may be harvesting data for spamming. Install apps only from reputable sources.
Also be wary of messages urging you to try “useful apps”. The goal may be gaining access to your data and connections.
Look for account verification
LinkedIn Verified Accounts with the blue checkmark have passed ID verification checks. While not foolproof, messages from verified accounts are less likely to be fraudulent.
However, even verified accounts may be compromised in some cases. So this alone does not guarantee legitimacy.
Watch for blocked accounts
If the message comes from an account you’ve previously blocked for spamming, be doubly cautious about responding, even if the message seems benign.
Spammers create new accounts frequently after getting blocked. But blocked status provides a good hint of potential issues.
Report suspicious behavior
If you suspect an account of spamming, phishing or other abusive behavior, report them to LinkedIn by clicking the options from their profile.
You can also report suspicious messages directly from your inbox. This helps LinkedIn identify and shut down spam accounts.
Enable two-factor authentication
Enabling two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your account by requiring a secondary form of identification to log in.
This prevents unauthorized access even if your password gets compromised. Reducing the risk of your account getting hacked and used for spamming.
Adjust profile visibility settings
Limiting your profile visibility settings reduces the amount of personal data exposed to spammers.
For example, you can adjust settings to exclude your email, phone number, connections list etc. from public view. Giving minimal attack surface to potential scammers.
Be selective when connecting
Accepting connections indiscriminately expands your visible network and makes you more vulnerable to spam.
Vet connection requests properly and connect only with those you know and trust. A targeted network is less susceptible to spam.
No single telltale sign definitively identifies LinkedIn spam. Carefully assessing multiple factors provides the best indication of message legitimacy.
With vigilance and common sense, users can identify and avoid most scam attempts. Report any suspicious behavior to help LinkedIn enhance platform security.