Bad actors pose a “significant threat” to LinkedIn and its consumers, according to Sean Ragan, the FBI special agent in charge of field offices in San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif., according to the report. “This type of fraudulent activity is significant, and there are many potential victims, and there are many past and current victims,” Ragan said.
In a typical scenario, according to the report, a scammer will pose as a professional with a fake profile and contact a LinkedIn user, starting with small chats before moving on to an offer to make money from investments. cryptographic. Eventually, the scammer takes advantage of the trust gained over the months to trick the user into investing money on a site controlled by the author, and then empties the account.
A group of victims told CNBC their losses ranged from $200,000 to $1.6 million.
The FBI has seen an increase in this particular investment fraud, Ragan said, also confirming that it was actively investigating but could not comment because these were open cases.
LinkedIn acknowledged in a statement to CNBC that there has been a recent increase in fraud on its platform. “We work every day to keep our members safe, and that includes investing in automated and manual defenses to detect and address fake accounts, misinformation, and suspected fraud,” the company said.
Although LinkedIn said it doesn’t provide estimates on how much money was stolen from members through its platform, it said it removed more than 32 million fake accounts from its platform in 2021, according to its semi-annual report. on fraud, the report added. .
The report found that the majority of perpetrators were tracked down by the Global Anti-Scam Organization, a victim advocacy and support group, in Southeast Asia.