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FBI Warns Of Crypto Fraud On LinkedIn, Calling It A 'Significant Threat'

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LinkedIn and the FBI have both warned users about the possible crypto scams in the platform, Engadget (via CNBC) reports.

Cryptocurrencies are the latest bait for scammers to deceive users on online platforms. According to the report, LinkedIn says it had encountered with a “recent uptick of fraud on its platform.” The company warns users about scammers trying to persuade them to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Sean Ragan, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the San Francisco and Sacramento field offices in California, called this a “significant threat” and asked users to be more cautious. “This type of fraudulent activity is significant, and there are many potential victims, and there are many past and current victims,” Ragan noted.

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The way these scammers work is simple but deceptive. First, the scammer reaches the person on LinkedIn, introduces himself as a professional crypto investor, and tells users they can make money by investing in cryptocurrencies. To gain the user’s trust, scammers ask users to start investing in an actual crypto investment platform. Then, after several months, they tell users to move their assets to a website controlled by them. In the end, the money is “drained from the account.”

Scammers use LinkedIn to fraud users with crypto investments

In an interview with CNBC, victims said they trusted LinkedIn as a credible platform for networking and believed the investments were legitimate. Ragan said the “FBI has seen an increase in this particular investment fraud.”

LinkedIn has also acknowledged they are dealing with increased fraud on the platform. The company released a statement and asked users to report suspicious activities regarding the case. LinkedIn‘s senior director of trust, privacy and equity, Oscar Rodriguez, also noted they’re “trying to identify what is fake and what is not fake is incredibly difficult.”

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LinkedIn is asking its users to stay away from unknown people who ask for their money. The company said, “This can include people asking you to send them money, cryptocurrency, or gift cards to receive a loan, prize, or other winnings.” Also, users should only connect with people they know and trust.

As per LinkedIn’s semiannual report on fraud, they removed more than 32 million fake accounts in 2021. Also, from July to December 2021, their automated defenses stopped 96% of all fake accounts, including 11.9 million stopped at registration and 4.4 million proactively restricted.