Fake LinkedIn Invitations: An Update

Those scammers who are trying to sucker you with fake LinkedIn invitations are getting craftier (maybe it’s because they’ve read the original post I wrote last spring calling them out).

Here’s an image of one of the new fake LinkedIn invitations that showed up in my inbox over the past week:

Fake LinkedIn Invitations: An Update

And here is what a real LinkedIn invitation looks like:

Real LinkedIn invitation

They have done a lot to eliminate the differences by:

  • using the LinkedIn logo
  • nailing the color scheme
  • getting the email to appear that it has been sent by “member@linkedin.com”
  • incorporating a similar “Accept” button
  • using the same language underneath the invite itself

If you don’t carefully look at the details of the invitation email, you could easily mistake this for the real thing. And that is what the scammers are counting on! But don’t let your guard down — the differences are still there!

  1. The biggest giveaway with this invitation was the text under the invitation “This email was intended for Lindsay Nelson.” Other false invites I received had the same name, so they apparently came from the same group.
  2. The logo and the links will not take you to the LinkedIn website. Simply hovering over them will show you that a different website has been linked to. If it doesn’t go to LinkedIn, don’t click on it!
  3. The real LinkedIn invitation makes much better use of the white space. The fake one is much more scrunched up.
  4. While scammers were able to give the appearance that the invitation email is “member@linkedin.com,” the complete From line on the falsified invite is not the same as a real invitation.

The advice I gave in my previous post about this is even more relevant now:

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.

It’s really, really worth it to take this extra step to avoid falling prey to a phishing scam. Even if you think you recognize the name of the person requesting to connect, I absolutely cannot recommend accessing your LinkedIn account through an emailed invitation. It’s too big a risk to take.

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  1. Thanks, Melissa! I just received one of these fake invites today (also had the Lindsay Nelson reference at the bottom).

  2. Me too. Thanks!

  3. I am getting 4 – 5 of these a day, all “intended for Lindsay Nelson” and all coming from “member at linkedin.com” – which is the legitimate address from which legit invites normally originate. I am really wondering how a phisher would be able to send these fake invites using their actual “member at linkedin.com” address without it actually coming from within the system? It seems to me that would mean that LinkedIn may have actually been hacked.

    I also find it interesting that they are coming to my primary email address associated with my LinkedIn account, which is where normal invites should be showing up.

    This all makes me fairly suspiscious that LinkedIn got hacked and just doesn’t want to tell anyone due to the bad press (since they were very publicly hacked about a year ago). I dunno. Not trying to be too “X-Files” here, but it’s a strange thing indeed.

    I have sent in a support ticket to LinkedIn about this very thing and will update you when I get a response.

    • Melissa Cooley
      Twitter: TheJobQuest

      Hi Tara,

      Yes, I am still getting them, too. I thought it was strange that they could have a LinkedIn email, but not being tech savvy enough to understand how that might work, I was thinking that perhaps it was a false address that is being forwarded to some unknown real address (I have no clue if that is actually possible).

      It is also kind of strange that if the phishers have our emails, why are the invites intended for some other random person? So many questions, but regardless of the outcome, I refuse to click on another invite that says it’s from LinkedIn. Too much risk.

      I am interested to hear what you learn from LinkedIn!


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