Fake job offers are the main LinkedIn scams for businesses

31 Jul 2023

Image: © Andreas Prott/Stock.adobe.com

67pc of smaller businesses surveyed by NordLayer said they experienced financial loss as a result of a LinkedIn scam, while larger businesses were more likely to suffer reputational damage.

Fake job offers and phishing attempts are the top forms of fraud used on businesses on LinkedIn, according to a new report by NordLayer.

The network security company surveyed 500 businesses across Canada, the UK and the US to find the type of scams they encounter on the popular social media site and the impact these scams had.

NordLayer said the high volume of job applications – 117 submitted every second on the platform – creates an “ideal environment for creating a legitimate-looking job posting”, which can then be used to collect personal information or money.

The second most common scam was phishing, which involves impersonating companies or professional individuals using fake profiles, with the goal of getting sensitive information.

NordLayer said most fraud attempts that impact businesses appear to be “social engineering” attacks, that aim to gather specific information to assist other scams.

“On the one hand, LinkedIn is an environment where everyone shows their or their organisation’s best side,” the report said. “Yet, politeness, eagerness to sell oneself, and prospect opportunities tend to create an unintentional smoke screen for LinkedIn members leading to the most bizarre scams that might even involve lotteries or romance fraud.”

The report suggests that 67pc of small businesses experienced a financial loss as a result of a LinkedIn scam. However, these businesses – with 10 or less employees – were also the least targeted overall. More than 50pc of small businesses in the survey said no one in their organisation had dealt with a scam attempt.

Meanwhile, NordLayer claimed “advanced cyber-maturity and medium-large companies” are the first to fall victim to phishing attempts and fake tech-support scams.

“It implies that large and mature companies have higher cyber awareness levels and, at the same time, more often outsourced assets like technical help vendors or a vast yet difficult-to-unravel network of colleagues, which brings everyone to an eye of a storm,” the report said.

While smaller businesses were more likely to suffer financial loss as a result of a successful scam, the report suggests larger companies were more likely to suffer from reputational damage. Medium-sized businesses – between 11 and 200 employees – were more likely to suffer infrastructure damage than other sized companies.

Previous reports have suggested that LinkedIn has become a location for inauthentic accounts pretending to be senior executives in multinational companies. Last year, an investigation by researchers at Stanford Internet Observatory uncovered more than 1,000 LinkedIn profiles using facial images that appeared to be created using artificial intelligence.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic