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FBI warns of growing digital currency scams on LinkedIn

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) cautions that digital currency fraudsters are infiltrating LinkedIn and could pose a “significant threat” to the social media platform and its users. Special Agent Sean Ragan says that digital currency fraud is now a significant activity on the professional networking social media platform. 

Ragan, who is in charge of the FBI’s field offices in San Francisco and Sacramento, made the statement in an exclusive interview with CNBC. He added that LinkedIn provides many potential victims, as well as current and past victims of digital currency fraud. 

“It’s a significant threat. This type of fraudulent activity is significant, and there are many potential victims, and there are many past and current victims,” he said. 

The criminals are growing more methodical and sophisticated in the way they operate. Ragan noted that from the cases the FBI handles, it is clear that the fraudsters “spend their time doing their homework, defining their goals and their strategies, and their tools and tactics that they use.”

The fraudsters leverage the trusted status of the Microsoft social media platform for use in business and professional networking. On interviewing several fraud victims, CNBC found that the fraudsters pose as professionals with legitimate companies to lure in their victims. 

They gain the victim’s trust, then urge them to make digital currency investments on legitimate and well-known platforms. With time and growing trust, they direct the victim to transfer the digital assets to websites they control, proceed to drain the funds, and disappear. 

LinkedIn is not alone in facing threats from scammers 

LinkedIn has acknowledged the growing number of such cases and is proactively trying to mitigate them. In its transparency report, the company claims to have removed 136 million instances of spam and scam content, as well as 31.6 million fake accounts during 2021. 

In a recent blog post, LinkedIn’s director of trust, privacy, and equity, Oscar Rodriguez, urged users to continue to help the platform weed out fraudsters by reporting any suspicious profiles or activity. 

LinkedIn is not the only internet platform seeing a rise in criminal activities. Other social media giants like Twitter, Instagram, and Discord have also noted increases in digital assets-related fraud cases. Verifying genuine high-profile accounts has not stopped scammers from causing damage on these platforms. 

Amidst the growing threat, social media platforms are still very much a boon for the digital currency industry. Market players use social media to drive adoption and connect on project development. As of 2020, blockchain-related skills were among the highest demanded skills sought on LinkedIn.

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