Don’t Be Duped by Fake LinkedIn Invitations

Scams that prey on job seekers are everywhere. Some that pretend to be legitimate organizations can be hard to detect. One I have been seeing quite a bit in my inbox recently is the fake LinkedIn invitation, so I wanted to take some time to address it.

Below is a screen shot from a real LinkedIn invitation I received recently:

Real LinkedIn invitation

And this is a screen shot from a fake LinkedIn invitation:

Fake LinkedIn invitation

Notice the difference?

The real LinkedIn invitation:

  • uses the LinkedIn logo
  • has the “accept” button which is used for making connections on LinkedIn’s site
  • uses the email address of member@linkedin.com
  • indicates the number of mutual connections
  • includes your name and your headline at the bottom

On the fake LinkedIn invite:

  • LinkedIn’s logo is nowhere to be found
  • there is big, bold lettering with its “PENDING MESSAGES” to try to trick you to reflexively click where it says “Go to InBox now.”
  • a “real” email address is provided
  • hovering over most all of the hyperlinks will show that the link itself will take you somewhere else if you clicked on it, NOT to LinkedIn

There are other ways in which they contrast, but I wanted to point out a few of them. So, the differences are pretty clear, but still — who wants to have to worry about the validity of a LinkedIn invitation? There’s one easy way to solve this:

Don’t click on any links within the email. Instead, open your browser and go directly to LinkedIn. If you have invitations waiting for you, it was legit. If not, then it wasn’t.

With all the phishing scams out there, avoiding the links in emails (except if you know the person who sent it to you and the message fit with who they are) might be the best way to go. Be safe out on the job hunt.

Update (8/29/2013): The scammers have changed the look of the fake LinkedIn invitations. Read my latest post about these changes.

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