Everyone is talking about the new species of misguided social media quack – the LinkedIn Lothario who has taken to the professional network LinkedIn to message women inappropriately. Some start of sweet while others go for straight up nauseating. Either way, he shouldn’t be there, shouldn’t be messaging and certainly shouldn’t be expecting a positive response.
Whilst we all agree LinkedIn isn’t the place to get your love groove on – there’s to me, more to this than plain sexual conquest. It’s a scam waiting to happen.
Just another social media profile
The thing that many forget is that LinkedIn, like any social media channel, is dependent on the personal details input by the user. I am on LinkedIn, who I say I am, working where I say I work but who’s to say any of this is true? A fake profile and photo is no less possible on LinkedIn than it is on Facebook but as usual there are tell-tale signs.
Everytime I have received an inappropriate message (inappropriate for LinkedIn’s purposes but necessarily call-the-cops kind of inappropriate) on LinkedIn, I’d first look up the person’s profile. Not to see if they are really date material but mostly because I am damn curious and I have a theory to test. Every single one of them had this in common*:
- The photo would be of a man in his late 30s or early 40s, white, and there would only be one photo. This is not in itself suspicious but when taken in context, gets just a bit seedier. I’ll explain in a bit.
- The person would have not many, if any, connections. There would usually be less than 10 and you will notice that they would all be female, of a particular look or age range.
- The person would have listed less than 3 jobs (despite looking over 40) and there would be very little if any narrative of what they did or where they worked.
- The last would be that they wouldn’t state the company they are currently working in and even the position would be something like Executive at Real Estate Firm, or some such thing.
Of course, all these things can be harmless and easily explained away until you take a look at the general modus operandi of the Online Love Rat in Malaysia.
*this is anecdotal based on my own and my friends’ experience.
The Love Rat Modus Operandi
If you’ve read about the multitude of love scams in Malaysia, you’ll notice a few things in common.
- The man will always be almost middle aged and white or from a developed country (US, UK, Canada, etc). The reason for this is that there is a perception that Asian women are all seeking rich, white men to wed and save them from their Asian poverty. I’ll leave it to you to decide if this is true or just a perception.
- The man will either be a divorcee or a man jilted in love and needs ‘fixing’.
- The man will be seem to be of means, with a steady well-paying job. Again, a lure for the Asian woman looking to ‘marry up’.
- The man will need to be far away so he can come up with a story about ‘immigration’, or ‘customs’ to make women part with their money. Immigration and Customs scare most people and many are clueless as to how it works – it’s the easiest way to convince someone to cough up large sums in ‘Customs duties’.
Of course, take a look at reported cases and you’ll see this pattern:
- Singaporean woman, supposedly Canadian lover caught by immigration for money laundering. Read
- Malaysian woman, supposedly American man, asked for money for his mother and said will pay back ‘when in Malaysia’. Read
- Malaysian woman, man’s alleged location not stated but was sending ‘gifts’ to her in USD, supposedly held by courier and she needed to pay ‘fees’. Read
- Malaysian woman, supposedly British man, again, ‘immigration’ problem. Read
- Recently, authorities in Singapore and Malaysia busted a syndicate and revealed how they scammed people via online relationships and through demanding ‘fees’ to pay off random authorities. Read
As shown by just a few of the stories above, these scams are thriving even without LinkedIn – on WeChat, Facebook, and the like. Why turn to LinkedIn?
Well, LinkedIn has one benefit the other social networks don’t – it can give a scammer an idea of how much money you earn.
Looking at some of the women who’ve fallen prey – housewives, clerks, etc – perhaps, the scammers now want bigger fish. Women in corporate positions who not only have their own spending power, they’d be more embarrassed when eventually scammed to come out and report that they’ve fallen victim. You might think it’s risky and stupid as CEO women aren’t going to be easily swayed but you forget the psychology of loneliness – it happens to smart, rich people too.
How many misguided decisions have you seen smart people make when in love? I’ll let you chew on that.
LinkedIn has offered scammers information like never before – they can now professionally profile the women they want to scam. Surely a Head of Marketing will have more disposable income to pay for a ‘customs fee’ than a kindergarten teacher. It couldn’t be easier.
So what do we do?
LinkedIn is a professional network, and a lot of times we add people we don’t know because we want to network and build our careers but it always helps to take everything you read on ANY social network with heaping dollop of salt and good judgement (as I have said before!).
If you do smell a rat in the L-sphere, there are two things you can do always. Check out James Veitch’s first option:
Or my favourite option: Do nothing at all – ignore them.
*The above is the personal opinion of the writer and written in the perspective of a woman on LinkedIn. It’s entirely possible for it to apply to a man.