There are a thousand fake SpaceX engineers on LinkedIn who are scamming users

There are a thousand fake SpaceX engineers on LinkedIn who are scamming users

From these profiles, dozens of scams started: first users were contacted with neutral messages and then they were asked to invest in cryptocurrency platforms.

Mai Linzheng has a LinkedIn profile. He is a graduate of Tsinghua, the best Chinese university, with a master’s degree in semiconductor manufacturing from UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles). He worked at Intel, KBR, and in 2013 he was hired at SpaceX. He is a senior technician. An impeccable profile for the aerospace sector. Too bad it’s all false, and like him a thousand other profiles. They are actually scammers who use LinkedIn to deceive users.

This network of accounts tries to push the users it contacts to invest money. To do this, these scammers build highly qualified professional profiles ad hoc. Prestigious schools, companies that nurture their credibility, all designed to be impeccable professionals. Once they contact other users, they build a relationship with them to make them fall into a financial trap.

How to spot a fake LinkedIn profile

Linzheng is just one of many. In reality the alarm bells were there. His profile, in fact, presented inconsistencies. He had lived in the United States for 18 years, yet all professional titles were written in Chinese. His business management degree in Tsinghua was dedicated to the school’s athletes, he was not registered among them. Not only that, his profile picture was also fake. In fact, it seems to have been stolen from the Instagram profile of a Korean influencer, Yang In-mo.

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SpaceX’s employee network

Like him, millions of fraudulent pages advised investments, often in the universe of cryptocurrencies. One of the first to notice was Jeff Li, technology influencer and columnist for the Financial Times China. What actually made him suspicious were the complaints of Chinese influencers who, observing LinkedIn, were complaining about the brain drain. Li va went deeper into research. The pattern of matching resumes suggested that the profiles actually belonged to scammers, not highly skilled engineers.

How a LinkedIn scam works

LinkedIn scams usually start with a private message from an alleged professional in the industry. Users are explained the earning potential of investments, for example in cryptocurrencies, and they are pushed to make wire transfers. LinkedIn in the second half of 2021 removed 7% of its profiles due to fraudulent identities. As he declares Oscar Rodriguez, Senior Director of Trust, Privacy and Equity di Linkedin.

Scammers “are always finding new techniques to scam people or companies,” he told CNBC Sean Ragan, the FBI special agent in charge of the San Francisco and Sacramento field offices. “They spend their time studying and defining their goals and strategies. They are a significant threat. “The FBI said it will investigate the scams by working with the victims. The goal is to identify the perpetrators and disable their accounts. Recover financial losses instead. it will be almost impossible.

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