US FBI warns of Cryptocurrency scammers on Microsoft’s LinkedIn

Sean Ragan, head of the FBI’s San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif., regional offices, said scammers used the recruitment platform LinkedIn to lure users into investing in cryptocurrencies. constitute a “significant threat”. “This is a major threat,” Lagan said in the interview. “This type of fraudulent activity is very serious and there have been many victims and many people who may have been defrauded.”

It is reported that some scammers pose as professionals, creating fake personal accounts and contacting LinkedIn users. The scammer first chatted with the victim via LinkedIn, offering to help the victim make money by investing in cryptocurrencies. Victims said they were used to believing the investments were legitimate because LinkedIn was a trusted business social platform.


Typically, scammers will direct users to join a legitimate cryptocurrency investment platform, but after a few months of gaining trust, tell the victim to transfer the funds to a scammer-controlled website, and then transfer the money from the victim’s account in full Walk.

“That’s how criminals make money, and they put their time and attention on it,” Lagan said. “They’re always trying to hurt people in different ways, hurt the company. They take the time to do their homework, determine their goals and strategies, and tools and tactics to use.”

Lagan said the FBI is now seeing an increase in this particular type of investment scam, unlike long-standing scams. In common scams, the criminals pretend to show affection for the victim to convince them to hand over the money. The FBI confirmed it was actively investigating the scam on the LinkedIn platform, but could not comment because the case was not closed.

In a statement, LinkedIn acknowledged that fraud on the platform has risen recently. The company said, “Our policy is very clear: LinkedIn does not allow fraudulent activities, including financial fraud, on the platform. We work every day to ensure the safety of our members, which includes various active and passive defense mechanisms for investment content that can detect and deal with fake accounts, false information, and suspected fraud.”

“We work with our peers and agencies around the world to protect LinkedIn members from the bad guys. If a member encounters a scammer or becomes a victim, we ask them to report it to us and local law enforcement.” Oscar Rodriguez, LinkedIn’s senior director of trust, privacy, and fairness, said, “It’s very difficult to identify what’s fake and what’s real.”

“I would very much like to educate members more proactively,” Rodriguez said. “Let members know or basically make them aware of the risks they may be revealed to,” LinkedIn said it removed more than 32 million fake accounts from the platform in 2021.

From July to December 2021, the company’s automated defense systems blocked 96 percent of fake accounts, with 11.9 million blocked at registration and 4.4 million actively restricted, the report said. The 127,000 fake accounts reported by members were also removed by the platform.

LinkedIn revealed that automated defenses caught 99.1 percent of spam and scams over the same period, totaling 70.8 million. Another 179,000 spam messages were deleted after being reported by members. LinkedIn does not estimate how much money criminals have defrauded from members through its platform.

In a blog post published on the platform Thursday night, LinkedIn warned users not to send money to people they don’t know or to reply to accounts that have obvious problems with their work history or other dangerous information such as grammatical errors in their communications.

That’s no consolation for Mei Mei Soe, who says she was scammed out of $288,000 on LinkedIn, her life savings. The scammer’s profile shows a manager of a fitness company in Los Angeles who wanted to connect with Somme in December. They started chatting on LinkedIn, then switched to chat apps. Somer said the scammer’s offer to help her make money piqued her interest.

“He asked me if I was on LinkedIn to network professionally or to get a job,” Somme said. “I never trust anyone easily, but we started talking and he gained my trust over time.” When the conversation finally turned to invest, Somme said, “He showed me how he made money from investing and told me that I should invest in cryptocurrencies. I knew it started out as a legitimate site, and I put $400 into it.”

The crooks later persuaded Somerset to move the investment to a place under his control. Over the course of several months, Somei made nine investments, including bank loans and borrowings from friends. But Somer soon discovers that the person she’s connecting with on LinkedIn isn’t the person the scammer claims. In the end, she lost all her money.

“I still remember that day,” recalls Somerset. “When I realized I was being scammed, I tried to contact him but couldn’t find it anywhere. I worked hard and saved every dollar and saved it. It broke my heart.” Somer said he never thought he’d be scammed on LinkedIn.

The related cryptocurrency website said that once the accounts linked to the scam were discovered, they would be deleted immediately. “We take a proactive approach to managing and preventing external threats, including scams and phishing campaigns,” the site said in a statement. “As with all financial transactions, before transferring money, make sure the account receiving the funds is legitimate, It is critical that its owner is clear and trustworthy.”

Somerset’s story is not alone. A group of victims of LinkedIn scams revealed their losses ranged from $200,000 to $1.6 million. One victim who lost $350,000 said: “We never imagined there would be so much malice behind a LinkedIn page.”

“Cheaters hide behind successful companies,” said another victim who lost $200,000. “One of the biggest reasons I accepted the invitation was that someone said in their profile that they worked for a legitimate company.”

“We lost a lot of money,” said one victim who lost $700,000. “It’s not just all the savings, it’s people losing their houses and cars. It’s life-devastating and soul-crushing.” Lagan said he understands the victims’ pain, but they shouldn’t blame themselves.

“It’s not their fault they became victims,” ​​Lagan said. “It’s the perpetrator’s fault. It’s the criminals’ fault. They spend their days and nights thinking about how to hurt and deceive people. That’s how they make money from their ill-gotten gains, and a lot of people are victims.”

Global Anti-Fraud Group traces that most of the criminals are located in Southeast Asia. “They usually target victims on LinkedIn by showing their entrepreneurial spirit,” said Grace Yuen, a spokeswoman for the group. “They might say they graduated from a prestigious university and then say they are in finance or investing. sometimes they even pretend to be in the same industry as you.”


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