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LinkedIn is a great tool for businesses and individuals. The professional social networking site helps connect companies with employees, businesses with other businesses, coworkers and networkers; there are many ways to use LinkedIn to your advantage.
Needless to say, it’s nearly essential to set up an account to be successful in today’s business world. But, like every site that asks for your PII, it’s also essential to stay safe while building your network!
1. Strong Passwords!!!You should have a strong password for every account. Using the same password for multiple accounts can make every them all vulnerable if even one site has a data breach. And LinkedIn has already been the victim of cyber criminals in the past. This data breach in 2016 revealed that LinkedIn was plagued with weak and already in use passwords. Make sure your LinkedIn password is complex, unique, and secure. It also doesn’t hurt to use their two-step verification (also called two-factor authentication).
To step up your two-step verification game, go to the Settings & Security page located under your Me tab. Next, click on the middle Privacy tab and scroll to the very bottom. Add your phone number, password and receive a verification code via SMS. Enter this code, push verify, and voila! Your LinkedIn account is now two-step verified. (This will also help those who have your cell phone number connect with your profile.)
2. Beware of Fake ProfilesYou may have all your privacy settings customized so that nobody but your connections can see your information, but if you accept a fake profile into your network then your perceived privacy is null. With access to your work history, email, and other connections, someone behind a fake profile could craft a very believable phishing scam or steal your identity. So, how can you spot a fake profile?
Luckily there are some tell-tale signs:
1. Spelling and grammar issues should be your first red flag.It is not considered professional for people to display their name in all caps or use an incorrect spelling of their company’s name. If you don’t know the person asking to be a connection, browse through their profile looking for errors.
2. Other fake profiles may seem too good to be true.You’re probably not going to get a connection request from many models or anyone famous. If Bill Gates or someone who looks like Gisele Bündchen sends you a request, you should report the profile.
If you aren’t sure whether a photo is fake or not, try a reverse image search on Google. Copy the image’s URL and go to Google Images. Click the camera icon in the search bar and paste the link. Now you can see where the image originally came from.
3. If their work specifics seem strange, run the other direction.Again, if it seems they are too good to be true – like a CEO from a major corporation – they’re probably lying about their resume. Pay attention to how many past job experiences they have. If being a CEO of a major corporation is all they have, it’s almost guaranteed to be a fake profile. If their skills section seems incomplete or brief, be wary too. Check the endorsements of their skills; it is unusual for someone who has hundreds of connections to have very few endorsements!
3. Don’t Fall for Phishing EmailsYou’ve probably seen an email in your inbox from LinkedIn before. Maybe it told you that you have a new connection, that someone endorsed your skills, or that they have a policy change you need to be aware of. These emails, which are typically read-only, are probably legitimate.
However, users have reported being sent an email from LinkedIn asking for documents to verify their identity. These are phishing emails! There are plenty of signs to be on the lookout for if you’re suspicious an email in your inbox is trying to steal your information. Check for spelling and grammar, check who it’s really sent from, and hover over any links to see where they really take you if you click on them. (Hint: don’t click on them!)
This video will help you visualize the steps it takes to figure out if an email smells phishy or not!
There are many more additional ways to secure your information on LinkedIn. Most importantly, continue to keep your security settings updated and only allow people to see what you want them to see.
LinkedIn allows you to publish a lot about your professional and personal life, but before you post that picture or allow your email to be public, think twice. You may think you’re just showing this information to your friends and colleagues, but you’re likely showing it to the entire world – cyber criminals included!