A LinkedIn User has been preying on women and then mysteriously disappearing!
It all started last week when a friend forwarded a message she had received on LinkedIn (see below). At first I thought it was a mildly amusing act of extreme unprofessionalism but the recipient was genuinely 'creeped out' by it so I thought I would look further into it.
At first I wondered if it might be a fake LinkedIn message, largely because of the odd looking formatting but on closer examination it turned out to be genuine.
The message was from a first tier connection, someone she didn't know who had invited her a couple of days before. She had seen the invitation on her mobile app and accepted it in a hurry - she admits this was a mistake but just something she did in haste.
The message was sent on the 17th August and I started looking into it on the 19th. My first action was to log into her account to check her inbox and this is where events start getting decidedly creepy...... The message wasn't there!
How can you receive a message by email and it not be in your LinkedIn inbox?
I checked with her and confirmed that she had not deleted it - very odd!
I then went to her 'Contacts' and looked him up by name - nothing!
Again I checked with her and confirmed that she had not disconnected from him - even more odd!
Next I logged back into my own account and searched for him by name, industry and location - BINGO!
Here he is (below)
This screenshot was taken on the 19th August and as you can see he has 193 connections (or shall we call them victims!)
At this point I had a eureka moment but I needed to test my theory out first.
Fortunately I am currently recording a new video tutorial series for job seekers and to demonstrate the process of building a profile from scratch I have created a dummy profile (which will be deleted once the tutorial is done) and this dummy profile happens to be a young female called Jacqui - An ideal Honeypot trap!
I logged into Jacqui's account, found his profile and sent him an invitation to connect - the trap was set!
The next day Jacqui received notification that the invitation had been accepted and within 15 minutes the following message was received;
I'm not going to deny it......I did a silly celebration dance around my office when I saw this!
I left it 24 hours and then clicked on his profile again from her home page in the 'recently viewed' section and was greeted by the message below;
I also checked her inbox and sure enough, the message had magically disappeared again!
This is how he does it
Our friendly stalker finds females he likes the look of and invites them to connect, if they accept he immediately sends them the creepy message.
He waits to see if they reply, expressing their desire to settle down and start a family! .....If (when) there is no reply within 24 hours (maybe less) he goes to their profile and blocks them (see both images below)
The net result is that the victim cannot see his profile, the message is wiped from her LinkedIn inbox and they are therefore highly unlikely to report him to LinkedIn.
How many times has he done this?
Its hard to say but to give some indication I looked up his profile today (23rd August), just 4 days since the first screenshot of his profile above which showed 193 connections and as you can see he has blocked at least 119 in just 4 days!
You might be wondering why I haven't revealed the name of this creep, I did think long and hard about it and came to the conclusion that it was better for LinkedIn to deal with this so I have reported his profile and sent them this story.
What can we learn from this?
Growing a network is key to being effective on LinkedIn and I am not an advocate of only connecting with people you already know - that kind of defeats the objective of online networking!
That said, connecting with people who have zero relevance to you and put virtually no information in their profile is asking for trouble. This guy's profile is pretty much blank and his invitation to connect was not personalized - a clear warning sign. Yet it would appear that well over a hundred women have accepted his invitation and presumably received the same message!
The other point is that LinkedIn need to think about this kind of misuse of the blocking feature - ironically it was designed to prevent this kind of behaviour! I'm not sure what the answer is but my hope is that by exposing this story, they can work a solution. When they do I will let you know via my free LinkedIn updates service
What are your views? Have you ever experienced behaviour like this on LinkedIn?