Marine Groups, and others probably, on LinkedIn – are being infiltrated by Fake Users with Fake Lives … in order to Spam!
An original story By Alan Spicer of Alan Spicer Marine Telecom – 09-01-2010
I am a member on the contact and connection (social networking) site called LinkedIn. There are also groups on LinkedIn that you can join either automatically or after being approved by the group owner or a moderator. I also run a group on LinkedIn called “Marine Telecom (Communications)”. I’ve been on there for quite awhile (User since August 19, 2004) well that would be 6 years. I am also a member of a lot of groups on there, most of them Marine and Telecommunications related.
I’ve noticed recently, as have other group members of marine / maritime groups, that there is an influx of users that join a group with the sole purpose of posting spam discussions. These are discussions that have nothing to do with the charter or purpose of the group where they post these discussions. But also lately I have noticed, as have others, that the members that spam are not real people. They are not who they say they are. In fact some of them have multiple identities that are all used to perpetrate their spam attempts.
Morpheus, in the movie The Matrix, told Neo – “Welcome to the Real World”. The reason that I quote that is because many of these spammers are creating their own fake worlds or lives on LinkedIn. Now there are some online games where you can be a virtual person (The movie Avatar) in a virtual world. You can have a job, or a business, … you can buy property and own real estate. You can spent virtual money on virtual things, funded by real money that you pay into your account. My brother even owns a yacht in one of these virtual worlds. Real Yacht People out there, imagine that? You didn’t have to spend millions of dollars on a real yacht. I’m sure my brother got his for a few dollars of spare change.
Anyway the point being that these users on Linked in create real sounding names … many of them sounding almost too real. One today almost sounds like “Daisy Duke” from that TV show The Dukes of Hazzard. Her supposed name is actually “Dixie Ford”. Her web site http://www.computertipsntricks.info/ seems legitemate enough … it actually has some real content and web applications that seem to work. Even a whois Internet Domain lookup tool that I used to look up *their* own domain name. Which is registered to someone in Jaranwala, Pakistan. So you see they are creating fake web sites for their profiles, fake companies, fake employment – work – or business histories, etc. etc. Things and people that don’t really exist … not in the REAL WORLD. Only in the fake matrix of LinkedIn.
Maybe this is a trend … in general … in Social Networking? With these forums and Facebooks and Myspaces, etc. being used to create non-real persons and non-real lives … in order to “Social Engineer” their way into peoples Friendships and Groups in order to feed the masses SPAM (Read: Matrix: In order to turn a human being into one of these [a BATTERY].) They must be getting paid by someone to do this? Or why else would they go to so much trouble to do all of that? It would interesting for someone to take a case study … pick a fake person … and find out what it is they are spamming about. Then track that back to who paid them to spam about that.
Anyway I would be interested to hear comments from others about this. I am trying to keep my group spam free. Which means being a little bit harder on new member applications that I receive. But if you don’t have a life … if you don’t have a history … and especially if you don’t have a boat, don’t captain a boat, don’t work in marine at all, then chances are you don’t belong on my Marine Telecom Group … or on any marine group for that matter.
Oh, also, I just found this: http://blog.linkedin.com/2009/03/27/how-to-report-abusive-behavior-on-linkedin/ while searching with google.com to see if I could find any more talk about these fake LinkedIn users.
How to report abusive behavior on LinkedIn
From the day we launched, LinkedIn has been about helping professionals build and maintain trusted relationships online. Over the past six years, we’ve seen millions of professionals gravitate towards this concept and members are signing up for LinkedIn in unprecedented numbers.
Today over 37 million professionals on LinkedIn believe that bringing our real-world professional relationships online will help all of us work smarter. While the network grows rapidly, we want to make sure that we preserve the user experience – for every user – by maintaining the integrity of the site. Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that a very small number of users tarnish the experience for some members of our community.
This extremely limited but abusive behavior violates our Terms of Service. This includes examples such as not using a real name/person as the profile owner, falsifying info, creating fake profiles, trying to use someone else’s account, massively inviting people they don’t know, and using the data in a way not authorized or intended by LinkedIn’s Terms of Service. This behavior, though infrequent, strikes at the very root of a trusted professional network.
We take these violations very seriously and will not tolerate this behavior. We’ll be contacting these users with a warning and any subsequent violation will result in the restriction or the termination of their account.
Moving forward, we’ll continue responding to complaints of abuses. We’ve also created an email address for you to report inappropriate behavior. Please email us, should you notice abusive behavior on LinkedIn.
And thanks for making LinkedIn a great network of professionals. We really appreciate it.
* Alan Spicer’s additional note – That email address is: abuse @ linkedin.com. Which is quite different from the online “Customer Service” contact method that I tried previously… and met with disappointing results over my report. They didn’t seem to understand what I was talking about at all.
Note: abuse email addresses used to be pretty common for web sites. Through: http://www.abuse.net/ you can find the abuse contacts for a lot of web site domain names. That is if they have registered on there. Another old abuse contact has always been “postmaster” … but from having been a domain “admin” or “root” user guy before – I know that the “postmaster” mailbox often gets ignored most of the time because it just gets too much email traffic. (By the way I should be *good* in www.abuse.net for my domains such as wifiyacht.net and marinetelecom.net, and have been for *years*.)
Alan Spicer Marine Telecom
communications @ marinetelecom.net