Fake LinkedIn Profiles: Why They’re Bad and How to Spot Them

When LinkedIn deleted 15 million fake profiles in the first six months of 2021, they recognized a problem everyone’s aware of by now: the site is overrun with fake accounts. That presents a huge problem for salespeople, recruiters, and anyone else trying to speak with real people on the leading business social media site.

The problem is so widespread that even popular LinkedIn blogs have acknowledged it. Unfortunately, it hurts everyone. Not only is it inconvenient for people looking to speak with live humans on LinkedIn, but it’s a bad strategy even for the companies that create the profiles. The good news is that fake profiles are absolutely possible to spot, once you know what to look for.

Don’t Make Fake Profiles

First, it’s important to note that making fake profiles is a bad business decision. It reflects poorly on your company’s brand, it will get caught by LinkedIn, and when it does, you’ll have wasted the time you spent on the project anyways.

Companies that make fake profiles look like any business that deceives customers: unreliable. When customers compare potential sellers, reputation goes a long way in their decision-making process. If they know that one company is intentionally deceiving others, that could make all the difference. 

As stated previously, LinkedIn is taking active measures to delete millions of fake profiles a month. They’re looking for companies that make these profiles, and when they find them, they aren’t giving second chances–the profile’s account is deleted, along with any potential leads it connected with. That’s why before Salaria works with anyone, we make sure they aren’t using fake LinkedIn profiles themselves.

How to Spot Fake LinkedIn Profiles

There are quite a few different signs that can indicate a profile is fake. But make sure not to jump to conclusions when looking at them: any one of these can belong to a normal person. It’s the combination of these factors that should raise an eyebrow. 

There are eight signs you should consider, and if a profile has at least five of them, that’s a good sign that you should be suspicious. Eight out of eight is almost certainly a fake profile, so check out these eight signs to see if a LinkedIn profile is fake.

Suspicious Picture

There are a number of things that can make a profile picture suspicious, but one indicator is if it looks like a stock photo. A photo with too-perfect lighting and signs of airbrushing or other modifications can be one indicator that the profile behind it is fake. You should also look for signs that the picture is an AI-generated image.

Limited Experience

There are plenty of new people just starting their first jobs right now. But people making fake profiles often fail to put in the work to give them an extensive work history. That can include profiles of people who look like they’ve had decades of experience, but only have one job on LinkedIn.

Prestigious University

What are the odds that an Ivy League graduate is a middle-aged man with one past job who looks suspiciously like a model? As with limited experience, the Ivy League part of this description isn’t necessarily suspicious by itself, but in combination with other factors, it sketches a more suspect picture.

Experience at Suspicious Companies

There are a number of things that can make a company suspicious, but the two most important factors to consider are whether the company has its own LinkedIn profile and whether it operates in the country where the profile is based. Remote work is becoming more popular, but it’s still relatively uncommon for people to live in countries where their employers have no other operations.

Using Profile for Business Development

LinkedIn is full of business development professionals looking to connect with prospects. But that’s also one of the most popular uses of fake profiles, which makes those profiles immediately more suspicious than profiles that aren’t reaching out to others.

Number of Connections

Finally, a real person likely has hundreds of LinkedIn connections from past work and education. But fake profiles are usually recently-made because LinkedIn deletes them so quickly, which means they have less time to build up a large network the way a real person would.

If you’re looking to speak with LinkedIn prospecting experts, reach out and book a meeting with Salaria Sales, experts in seeing through fake profiles and capturing genuine, qualified leads.

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