Back in 2012, professional social network LinkedIn got hacked.
That hack was back in the news again recently as the full scale of the attack finally came to light: A whopping 167 million accounts were compromised, including 117 million passwords.
But now there seems to be a new scam floating around the internet, lurking on unsuspecting users.
Just this week I received two emails from two separate people posing as LinkedIn members who emailed me to connect to their networks.
But after a quick search of their user names on the platform, before opening the emails, I found that they weren’t in fact legitimate users of the site.
And more to the point, the content of the emails were down right creepy.
How are you doing today? I was actually searching for an acquaintance when I came across your profile. I must confess you are pretty and this is me being honest and not just mere flattery .I hope no offence is taken, I understand this is a business networking medium and not a dating or social networking website and I don’t intend to use it for one.
You caught my eye , I am interested in communicating more and sharing more about me with you and hope to learn more about you too that is if you are single and interested in communicating further. I do believe everything is possible if we put our mind and heart together just like i believe that good things can be found in the least places. I hope to hear from you soon. Till then stay blessed.
This is my Link on LinkedIn just in case you want to check it out [link to fake profile].
I did a quick search of this copy on the internet to see if other users have flagged it in the past.
One of the only other recounts of the scam that I found was on Facebook.
User Susana Carbajales was complaining about it.
It’s not the first time Business Insider has written about LinkedIn in relation to user harassment.
Last year Business Insider reporter Rachel Gillet wrote an article titled: I was sexually harassed on LinkedIn and it made me question the site’s credibility.
At the time she contacted the site for their position on harassment.
While representatives emphasised that LinkedIn is primarily geared towards professional use the company would not comment on the record about how many incident reports it receives each year or if inappropriate messages pose a problem for the site.
She wrote: “I can somewhat wrap my head around the reasoning behind using LinkedIn to find dates — many people would prefer to date certain professionals. Dating apps like LinkedUp have even started cashing in on this thinking.
“In my estimation, though, sexually harassing messages don’t just damage the sender’s credibility — it could cause users to disengage with LinkedIn itself.”
While the emails I received were not directly sent through the platform’s messaging system they have made me think twice about accepting invitations from those that I do not know.
I contacted LinkedIn for a comment on the emails that I have received.
Here’s all they said.
“LinkedIn always encourages its members to stay vigilant and connect only with people they know and trust. Members can report any inappropriate activity to our Help Centre so our team can take necessary action.”
As it turns out it’s actually pretty simple to get a person’s email address from LinkedIn.
A browser extension called Sell Hack at one stage was able to add a “Hack In” button to LinkedIn profiles. By pressing that button users were able to see that person’s email address regardless of whether or not you’re connected.
Sell Hack eventually bowed to pressure of the site after receiving a C&D letter and announced in a blog post that “SellHack plugin no longer works on LinkedIn pages”.
While this tool may no longer exist, whose to say a new one hasn’t taken it’s place.