The FBI Just Gave an Urgent Warning About This "Significant Threat"
The agency says to be on high alert, as this dangerous trend is increasing.
From mail fraud schemes in Louisiana to vapes tainted with date-rape drugs in Massachusetts, people across the U.S. have been alerted to recent threats happening in their communities. These warnings are usually specific to a danger rising in a certain area, but a new warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) should have everyone paying attention. Read on to find out about the "significant threat" the agency is warning you to be on the lookout for.
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The FBI has given Americans multiple warnings recently.
Part of the FBI's job is to protect the safety of those across the country by issuing warnings. In Jan. 2021, the FBI joined forces with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to alert Americans about scammers attempting to sell fake COVID vaccines at a time in which many people were eagerly awaiting their change to get vaccinated.
And just last month, a series of mass shooting across the country prompted the FBI to warn that the agency was seeing an increasing number of attacks at specific grocery store chains, like Kroger and Walmart.
The latest FBI warning is about a different kind of danger, this time targeting your wallet.
The FBI is warning about a new "significant threat."
The FBI now warning about a dangerous LinkedIn scheme, CNBC reported. Sean Ragan, the FBI's special agent in charge of the San Francisco and Sacramento, California, field offices, told the news outlet that con artists are using the social networking platform to try to trick users into cryptocurrency investment scams.
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency that is often exploited by scammers because it does not come with legal protections and payments with it are usually not reversible, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In fact, the U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced in Feb. 2022 that the FBI was forming a new digital currency unit dedicated to cracking down on rising scams involving cryptocurrencies, per Reuters.
The FBI has specifically seen a recent rise in crypto-based investment fraud, according to Ragan. "It's a significant threat," he warned in his interview with CNBC. "This type of fraudulent activity is significant, and there are many potential victims, and there are many past and current victims."
According to CNBC, fraudsters involved in this scam pose as professionals by creating fake LinkedIn profiles. They typically reach out to other users with small talk through the platform's messaging feature and then eventually offer to help victims make money through crypto investment. "So the criminals, that's how they make money, that's what they focus their time and attention on," Ragan said. "And they are always thinking about different ways to victimize people, victimize companies. And they spend their time doing their homework, defining their goals and their strategies, and their tools and tactics that they use."
LinkedIn confirmed that there has been an increase in fraud on its website.
The warning is not just coming from government officials. LinkedIn confirmed in a statement that it has seen a recent rise in fraud on its website, CNBC reported. The company said it took down more than 32 million fake accounts from its platform last year, which included 11.9 million that were stopped by its automated safeguards at registration, 4.4 million that were restricted proactively, and 127,000 fake profiles that were reported by members.
LinkedIn also reported that its automated defenses caught a total of 70.8 million spam and scam messages in that same timeframe, with another 179,000 being removed after members reported them. In terms of how much money has actually been stolen from members, the company told CNBC that it won't provide estimates on that.
The company said it will continue to work to keep its members safe.
LinkedIn told CNBC that it will continue to enforce "clear" policies that make it known "fraudulent activity, including financial scams, are not allowed" on its website. "We work every day to keep our members safe, and this includes investing in automated and manual defenses to detect and address fake accounts, false information, and suspected fraud," the company added.
Oscar Rodriguez, LinkedIn's senior director of trust, privacy, and equity, told CNBC that one of the biggest issues is that "trying to identify what is fake and what is not fake is incredibly difficult," especially for the average user. "One of the things that I would really love for us to do more is get into proactive education for members," Rodriguez said. "Letting members know or basically allowing them to understand the risks that they might face."