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|Monday, July 07, 2014|
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Today I got two more Linked In requests from fake personas — Robin Sages. Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, these are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.
The version on LinkedIn solicits connections from pretty, young females in the “appointment setter service and sales calling for lead generation” business.
You may not hire them—but by linking to them you make your own contact information visible to the person on the other side, hiding behind the fake persona.
In other cases, confidential company information is leaked, often to competitors.
Here’s a typical one:
The underlying company, “InsideSalesWiz Inc.” appears to be every bit as fake. Its 800 number shows up on several other LinkedIn profiles with similar patterns — young women’s pictures are given, along with sales pitches for “appointment setter service and sales calling for lead generation” or the like.
There are perhaps a dozen such “companies” at any given time, each with a few dozen fake personas. Once these are discovered and shut down, new ones take their place.
As programmers get better at automating the generation of fake personas, and the harvesting of personal information from those foolish enough to link, expect an arms race.
Your best counter-measures are:
If you get one of these on LinkedIn, pick the downward pointing triangle next to the “Send InMail” button and select “Block or Report."
The Internet continues to evolve. Security is in its infancy. Practice safe linking.
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