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LinkedIn Ousts Fake Accounts Targeting US Political Groups

LinkedIn Invitations

Be careful around your LinkedIn invitations, especially if you're involved in politics. On Wednesday, LinkedIn warned that bad actors have been using fake accounts to network with members of US political groups.

"Our team recently uncovered and restricted a group of less than 40 fake accounts that appeared to be engaged in efforts to connect with members who are in political organizations," Paul Rockwell, LinkedIn's head of trust and safety, wrote in a blog post.

LinkedIn declined to offer details about the incident, like who was controlling the fake accounts. "The team's investigation is ongoing and we're not ready to draw any conclusions," a company spokesperson said. However, LinkedIn did confirm that the political groups were US-based.

Rockwell mentioned the incident as an example of how bad actors can abuse LinkedIn to target unsuspecting victims. In another example, Rockwell said his team shut down an account belonging to someone who claimed to be a well-known celebrity.

"Although in both of these examples, we didn't see any evidence of the accounts spreading fake news, manipulative ads or information on our platform, we don't take their existence lightly," he said. "You'll hear more from us as we share insights on the work we're doing to keep our members safe."

The incident comes as the whole tech industry has been on guard against potential attempts to disrupt the upcoming midterm elections. Last month, Microsoft revealed it had stopped an attempt to hack three candidates up for election through phishing attacks.

It's no surprise that malicious parties are trying to exploit LinkedIn. Connecting to someone's profile on the service can sometimes let you view their contact info, including email and phone number. It can also provide an opportunity to dupe a victim into handing over sensitive information.

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Although LinkedIn has systems that can detect fake accounts, it's nevertheless telling users to be on guard against scammers and to report any suspicious activity.

"We encourage members to only connect with people you know or recommended contacts from a trusted connection," Rockwell said in his blog post. The company has a site with tips on staying safe over the platform. You can also toggle what information your LinkedIn profile reveals through your account's privacy setting.

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