LinkedIn struck by 419 scammers

Sophos is warning workers of the dangers of connecting with people they don’t know via the business networking website LinkedIn. The advice follows the discovery that advanced fee fraud scammers are using the site to try and find potential victims.

Advanced fee fraud, also known as 419 scams after the relevant section of the Nigerian penal code, are a common sight in many computer users’ email inboxes. Typically, they claim to offer a small fortune in the form of a lottery win or inheritance, in exchange for an individual’s banking details or payment of a ‘handling charge’. Due to increasingly sophisticated anti-spam defences at the email gateway, fraudsters have now turned to sites like LinkedIn to try and lay traps for unwary business workers.

Earlier this week, a 419 scam was sent via the LinkedIn website claiming to come from a 22-year-old woman living on the Ivory Coast, who had inherited USD 6.5 million from her deceased father.

Part of the message reads:

Before the death of my father on the 12th December 2007, in a private hospital here in Abidjan, he called me secretly to his bed side and told me that he kept a sum of USD 6.500 000 (six million five hundred thousand United States Dollars) in a bank in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. He used my name as the next of kin in deposit of the fund. He also explained to me that it was because of this money he was poisoned by his business partner, and that I should seek for foreign partner in a country of my choice where I would transfer this money and use it for investment purpose.

The message goes on to request bank account information, and implore the recipient and potential victim to reply to a Yahoo! email address within seven days.’

LinkedIn users who wish to reduce the chances of receiving spam should change their communications settings on the site.

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