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LinkedIn users are being scammed of millions of dollars by fake connections

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  1. skybrian
    From the article: […] […] […]

    From the article:

    Since last year, such activities have been steadily on the rise on LinkedIn, following years of proliferation on other social media platforms and dating apps. In the second half of 2021, LinkedIn removed 7% more profiles because of fraudulent identities than in the six months before that, according to Oscar Rodriguez, LinkedIn’s senior director of trust, privacy, and equity.


    A scammer on LinkedIn may try to connect with someone through common work experience, a shared hometown, or the feeling of living in a foreign country. Over 60% of the victims who have reached out to GASO are Chinese immigrants or have Chinese ancestry, which these actors lean on to evoke nostalgia or a desire for companionship. The fake claims to have graduated from China’s top universities, which are notoriously difficult to get into, also help scammers earn respect.

    While the pig-butchering scams targeting Chinese nationals are not the only kind of fraud happening on social media platforms like LinkedIn, they are exceptional for the amount of financial losses they have caused. GASO surveyed 550 victims and calculated the median loss to be $52,000; in comparison, the median financial loss from all types of fraud in the US in 2021 was $500, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

    And on average, LinkedIn victims in particular tend to lose more money than victims of fraud on other platforms—oftentimes over a million dollars, says Yuen.

    “Unlike dating sites, which are where the first scam victims were coming from, LinkedIn actually has a lot of information that’s really useful for the scammers,” she says. “They know your earning potential based on the type of work you listed.”


    The introduction of crypto is relatively new to these types of scams. The traditional con often asks victims to complete a wire transfer to a fraudulent bank account, join a gambling platform, or invest in assets like crude oil futures.

    But according to data collected by GASO, crypto emerged as a new way to funnel money around January 2021 and is now used in 77% of the cases that the group documented. Crypto is less traceable and more convenient for cross-border transactions, and it involves fewer intermediaries like banks, which can potentially warn victims of fraud risks. Since last year, over $1 billion in crypto has been lost to scammers, a June FTC report shows—more than any other payment method.


    The crackdowns at home [in China] have driven many criminal groups into Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and other Southeast Asian countries where telecom fraud regulations are less rigorous. New scammers are recruited from Mandarin-speaking communities across Asia, sometimes having been lied to and trafficked to what have been called “industrial-scale” scam headquarters.

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