Here a Scam, There a Scam

Recently, I got a bizarre message in my business email box from a fellow seeking to connect on LinkedIn.

Ideally, people don’t connect with those they don’t know, but LinkedIn bills itself as “the world’s largest professional network.” As such, most connections are job opportunities, networking, reconnecting with colleagues from the past, learning from business-related articles, and so forth. The LAST thing you’d expect to find would be something like this:

Hi I was just looking around the site,cos i just got posted few months back, when i crossed your picture and i think on my eyes you are the most attractive of all woman here, yeah i’m kinda far from where you are but i thought i would just leave you a message and hopefully you won’t blame me to try to get know you a little bit more… im kind and respectful and love to spend time with someone doing different things from walking through a park, going out on the town to a movie or dinner, to staying at home for whatever comes to mind for watching movies and spending private time together. Please let me know either way if i am what you are looking for or not. I hope to hear back from you soon.

It was signed (with “kisses and hugs”) by a stranger, who included his full-suited photo and contact info.

Feeling a LOT creeped out, I fired off an indignant message to the powers-that-be at LinkedIn, attaching the message, and requesting their help in stopping nonsense like this. They promised to get to the bottom of it, but that was the last I heard.

From them.

But being something of a computer geek, I did a bit of sleuthing on my own. And what I found out is even creepier: The exact same message, same photo, same contact info on a Scammers/Phishing site!! And I wasn’t the only one targeted, either.

Good thing my “creep radar” was on and I deleted the message.

I debated whether to write about this at all (I don’t want to legitimize it with publicity), but warning y’all to be careful online seems more crucial. And really, there’s a fine line between being “social” and sharing too much, and we all need reminders now and then.

So what’s the latest scam you didn’t fall for?

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32 thoughts on “Here a Scam, There a Scam

  1. Almost for an unscrupulous realtor in Colorado who I had been “pocket listing”on of my properties there. I had a bad gut feeling about what he was doing so I called my sister who is a realtor in CA, poked around other places and found out that when there is a really “hot” market like Denver is experiencing lately, some realtors will hold a listing (like in their pocket) until they also find a buyer and then try to milk both sides. Terrible, right? I dropped him before I signed anything and have moved on to one that “feels” honest and forthright. Whew. Dodged a bullet. Glad you did yours too (although you ARE one of the cutest things out there).

    • Truly unscrupulous, Barb! Shouldn’t there be a law against such underhanded schemes? Glad you didn’t get taken! Me? Cute? Aw, gee, thanks for making me blush!!

  2. Oh, shoot. I rarely get such messages, because I’m not on Facebook, and though I’m on LinkedIn, I’m not active. In fact, I’m about to leave LI. But, when I get one of those jerky messages, I don’t even think about it. I just mark it spam and delete it.

    My all-time worst offender is Yahoo mail. I don’t use it, because it’s full of holes, but I’m constantly getting “emails” from people who do use it, and whose address books have been compromised. Sometimes I let them know, and sometimes I don’t, depending on how energetic I feel.

    I do have a friend who fell for the telephone, “Hi, I’m here from Microsoft and I’m going to help you with your computer” scam. I keep telling her, “Just hang up on them.” The problem is, once you bite, you’re on the list. That’s why I never, ever even click a link on anything that looks suspicious. Click the link, and you’re sending a message that says, “Yoo hoo! Here I am! I’m a live one!”

    • And that’s exactly why I’m NOT on Facebook, ha! I’ve heard far too many horror stories of people being contacted by “old” boyfriends (or girlfriends!) they thought they were long rid of! I told LinkedIn that if they couldn’t tighten up their security, I’d be deleting my account, something as a professional I’d really hate to do. You never know when a connection might prove useful!

      E-mail, I agree, really is the worst offender. I’ve got my settings on the highest of security, but still, odd messages have a way of slipping through. Who knew there were so many people in need of medical devices or mail-order wives??!! Yep, the Delete button really is our best friend — thanks for the reminder!

  3. Poor man! He’s probably heartbroken now… you’re a cruel woman! ;)

    Actually I’m a bit jealous – my scammers never tell me I’m gorgeous. But I get e-mails all the time inviting me to link up with people on LinkedIn, which is very strange, since I’m not on it.

    • HaHaHa! Even a “creeper” should know not to mess with Celtic warriors!

      FF, you *are* gorgeous — that’s probably why the scammers are afraid to approach you! I’m kind of surprised you get those invites from LinkedIn, though — gee, they must have found a way past the security barriers (at least that’s kind of impressive, don’t you think?!)

  4. *laughing* Imagine getting a picture! That would be so creepy. Good for you! You’re like a detective. And you got to the bottom of the matter. Very good. I’m proud of the whole matter.

    I do get such things from time to time. I just delete them, though.

    • Not my type at all, though he did appear a nice enough fellow. The scammer probably used one of those photos in a Wal-Mart frame and claimed it was him!

      I love sleuthing *fistbumps* ‘Tis the wrong person Mr. Scammer messed with this time. You’re wise to hit the Delete button. Gee, they tell us to be social on the one hand, then not to be too open on the other — how’s a person supposed to do that??

  5. He may be a creep, but he was right about you being attractive!
    Um, lets see. It wasn’t a scam, but a troll. He said horrible, mean stuff. I couldn’t help myself. I wrote back and said, “I suppose you feel all safe and powerful behind your computer, asshole.”
    So naughty, but I had to do it.

    xxx kiss

    • Aw, Kim, you’re too sweet — thanks! (Though he probably never laid eyes on me, you know, because he probably sent out thousands of messages just like this one!)

      You had somebody say horrible and mean things to you online? How awful — and infuriating! Guess you told him, though!! I’d have been shaking in my boots, I imagine — some from fear, some from anger!!

    • Oh, Audrey, I’m so sorry to hear stuff like this — why can’t people be pleasant?? Yes, you’re right in saying there are lots of idiots out there. I suspect some are “bots,” which spend time trolling the ‘Net hoping to find suckers. Then again, I imagine there is the random “crazy” who’s just as ornery as a hornet. I’ve had requests to hide money, buy medical devices, hook up with foreigners, etc. All just too creepy, huh?!

  6. Well, Debbie, you know of my latest IRS telephone scam message, but I also get emails but NEVER click on them because I can tell from the subject box that they’re not legit. What’s been happening to me lately is that I’m getting email scam from people who are using the names and email addresses of people I know; hoping that I’ll open the email, believing that it’s them. I contacted one of my friends and told them about it, and they discovered that someone had hijacked their email address and was using it to send spam!

    I’m not on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, so I haven’t any spam issues with any of those. But I know that Facebook is notorious for not being secure with your email address. Thus, people can find you who you DON’T want to find you. In fact, many, many years ago when I had a FB account, someone (a family member of mine) who I did NOT want contact with, contacted me via my email address they got off FB. And I couldn’t understand how they found it because I had my security account set for “not showing my email address.”

    Thanks for posting this, my friend. Because the more people know about stuff like this, the more awareness we bring to others.

    X

    • Ron, the sad thing is, “they” tell us to be social. If we’re running a small business, or writing, or doing anything creative like music or art — they say we need to connect with our potential audience. Of course, that potential audience is filled with complete strangers, some of whom aren’t very nice or honorable. It’s a two-edge sword, I think, and you’re probably just as well off NOT being on the social merry-go-round. I don’t do Facebook (can’t do everything), but I honestly thought LinkedIn would be a good avenue for connecting with other professionals.

      I’ve heard others complain about getting email from friends’ accounts that have been hacked, and I find that pretty scary. If you can’t trust your friends, who can you trust, right? Here’s hoping you have a fabulous day, in spite of it all!

  7. I’m on everything but deleted LinkedIn. It was by far the worst when it came to scams and they never followed up. Despite not having an account for several years I’m still contact by people who want to connect with me on LinkedIn. Maybe I just couldn’t manage it properly but the scams and spam got old after a while. No harm, just annoying. On Facebook it is easy to block things with privacy settings and I keep my friend count on my personal page fairly small and limited to people I know. Twitter has never been a problem.
    I did experience the IRS SCAM ^ and was surprised at how far they reeled me in. I thought I was beyond such things. Ha. They just knew so much. It was a good reminder once again that I don’t have to communicate anything over the phone or by e-mail. If it is official they will mail me. And I don’t click e-mail links unless I am absolutely certain I know who sent the link. That is what browsers are for. Even my sweet Mom has that down. Finally :-D.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences, Kb. I think the more we hear of others falling victim, or nearly so, the more cautious we’ll be. I’ve been on LinkedIn for several years now and never had a problem — before this one. Looking back on it, it’s probably MY fault for taking them up on their suggestion to synch my phone with my LinkedIn account. That’s since been un-synched, and I hope that solves the problem. I guess we all just need to remind ourselves — often! — that creeps live among us, and many of them are up to no good.

  8. Ohhh that is creepy! You’re right that those types of messages are rare on LinkedIn. I get them on Facebook from people I don’t know and aren’t connected to there. I think, “really?!!” but maybe, sadly, some people fall for them. I get called “dear” quite a bit in those messages lol!

    • At least they’re right about the “dear” part, Christy ;) Yes, I was stunned at getting something like this from LinkedIn. I just never expected it from a professional network. A social network? Well, yes, I guess that’s a definite possibility. At any rate, we all need to keep our guards up, for we never know when something (or someone) is creeping on us!

  9. I’ve declined a few invitations to connect on Linkedin, but nothing so creepy as that! I’ve seen some bogus friend requests on FB too. Seriously, you have to wonder who it is out there who has nothing more productive to do than hacking, phishing and scamming!

    • Excellent observation, Terri! I imagine hacking is just a game with some of them, but you’re right — they need to get a life! Professional people want to expand their network of potential clients without having to waste time wading through bogus requests. The creators behind sites lie this should do a better job protecting the honest, real users!

  10. Ooooh yuck! Next time one those creeps stalks me, I am going to hire you to suss them out. Be sure to add detective to your resume. No seriously, I am in awe at your computer skill and wish we lived closer so that you could give me tips.

    • Thanks, Pat! I wish we lived closer, too! It’s hard to believe people have so much time on their hands that they can terrorize/annoy others online. I guess we all need to maintain a constant vigil so we won’t be taken into their scams.

  11. Okay, I had to make myself keep reading after “cos” – seriously, write out the whole word! That is a creepy message. It’s funny, but I used to have a LinkedIn account (sparsely done and not maintained… a former employer wanted us to be out there so I did the bare minimum.) Well, someone from high school contacted me so I deleted the account. Odd, but I still get requests from people to link and I don’t know why because I deleted it a couple years ago.

    Recent scams I haven’t fallen for – a fake email from PayPal about a problem with my account (which I forwarded to them). I logged into my account (not through the link in the email) and there wasn’t a problem. When I hovered over the link in the email, it was phony web address. I also had a phone message about possible credit card fraud. I called the number out of curiosity, but the first thing they wanted was for me to enter my credit card number, so I hung up. I’ve gotten calls from credit cards about suspected fraud – they aren’t computer-generated with generic messages.

    • I know, huh?? It was a creepy message — I glanced it over once, then forced myself to re-read it carefully (and my creeped-out feelings grew by the minute!). I don’t know whether it was computer-generated or if somebody simply has too much time on his hands — doesn’t erase the creepiness!

      Glad you were astute enough to waylay the scams coming your way, Janna! Be extra-vigilant out there!!

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