COLORADO SPRINGS — The FBI says this is a story we should all know about.
Users have reported losing hundreds of thousands of dollars after connecting with someone on LinkedIn they thought they could trust for financial advice.
Investigators say these scammers usually pose as professionals and offer to help people make money through a crypto investment. LinkedIn has now acknowledged the problem. The company says it removed 32 million fake accounts last year.
Consumer advocates are also concerned about a practice called 'data scraping” happening on LinkedIn and across many social media platforms. Investigators say companies "scrape" social media for email addresses, friend lists, and other relevant info.
Once they have the valuable information, they flip that data to businesses, law enforcement, or anyone looking to feed a database with people's information.
According to researchers, by one estimate, at least 90 % of LinkedIn users have had their data "scraped" and packaged for sale.
“When you go on LinkedIn, you are gaining visibility in your professional community, but at the same time, you're sharing information about your background, the places you've worked, and the people you're connecting with," said Vahid Behzadan of the University of New Haven. "It's completely dependent on your evaluation of what you're gaining versus the importance of keeping your information private."
Investigators say often they see fraudsters earning the trust of victims by claiming to be affiliated with a well-known university and are claiming to be a finance or investment professional. Sometimes they even pretend to be in the same industry as their victims to try to appear credible.