I received a connection request from Nathan Philippe yesterday. I always take a cursory look at any profile that wants to connect. The nature of LinkedIn is that we connect with some people we don’t know so taking the time to check out the profile is important with every request. I know so many people whose only criteria for vetting a potential connection is to see how many connections they have in common. But this is not enough.
So let`s take a look at this profile
- Take a look at how many connections the individual has. In this case when “Nathan” sent the request he had 22 connections. That is red flag #1 to take a closer look at a profile. It the sender is a young professional then it makes sense they may be new to LinkedIn and building their network. It is more unusual for an established professional to be joining.
- Take a look at where they are from and where they work. In this case “Nathan” stated he worked for Liberty Bank in Fredericton. Being Canadian myself I knew there was no such bank. But for the sake of due diligence, I searched to make sure my hunch was correct. Second of all when I clicked on the Liberty Bank Logo he placed in his profile, it linked to Liberty Bank in Tblisi, Georgia….a bit of a distance from Fredericton
- Take a look at their education. “Nathan” wrote that he attended the University of New Brunswick and received a BA of Law and then put LLB by his name. A BA in Law does not earn you the LLB and the University of New Brunswick does not offer law degrees.
- With the previous red flags I decided to run a reverse image search of his profile picture on tineye. The search came back noting that the photo was listed on a scammer site.
5. Go with your gut. If a profile looks iffy to you then it might be. It’s better not to connect at all then connect with someone who will mine your information and that of your connections.
Nejolla consults and teaches seminars in the area of Social Media Risk. Her website is http://www.interveritas.com
What have you revealed about yourself online? Staying safe on line is important for everyone and no matter who you are or where you are, there are thieves waiting to steal information about you.
Last night on Facebook I noticed a post float down my wall which disturbed me greatly. It was probably posted with no bad intent but disturbed me for the questions it asked.
I have been astounded at some of the things that I have found out through Facebook about all my dog owner Facebook friends! I hope you all will let me and others get to know you better. You guys are really smart, have great jobs, and educated!! Hope to get to know many of you better!
If you will play along, and I will start. Tell:
1 What your name is
2 What your kennel name is
3 What kind of work you do
4 What your husband or wife’s name is
5 What kind of work they do
6 What state/country you live in
7 Do you have children/grandchildren?
But the biggest issue with this post was that it was public. That means there anyone from anywhere can see that post and its responses. No privacy filters set whatsoever. I was astonished to see that within 2 hours of her posting this that 18 people had given up their information.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
I cautioned my friends from posting a reply because her wall was not private and the information requested could be used against them in malicious ways – not necessarily by the person posting it but the world she made it available to
The woman requested the info replied to my post and fessed up to asking the questions. She said that she didn’t want people to be “paranoid”. You should be paranoid about what floats out about you on the internet. So, DON’T POST IT!
To try and emphasize how important it is to protect privacy, I sent her a private message and showed her what I found out about her within five minutes.
- Her birthday and her husband’s birthdate
- Her private email address
- Where she worked, what position and for how long.
- Her home address
- The approximate value of their home
- That there was an email address attributed to her husband that was firstname.lastname@example.org (a tad embarrassing at the age of 50+)
- Two telephone numbers one home, one mobile
- Children’s names
The next morning she told me that what I found was impressive but that she had a high profile on the internet because of her employer. So I googled her name and decided to check out what was high profile. Ok so first I get the LinkedIn profile = no big deal most working professionals put something up. Then a web address of her employer and her kennel web page. That is not high profile in the traditional sense yet the personal data can make you high profile to the thief that is building a data file on you. Birthdates? Home addresses? Property values? She should have been a bit more concerned than flipping me off with her high profile label. On any profile personal information is too much information.
Posting this information on Facebook is the same as writing all of your vital statistics and information down on a piece of paper and then posting it on the bulletin board at your local grocery store. Do you really think that is ok?