LinkedIn’s Fake Profile Problem

Something suspicious is going on with LinkedIn invitations. I’ve had about 5 of these invitations with the exact same text, but different profiles and photos:

Which is real? Accounts associated with Ukraine appear to be bot-generated.
Two recent, identical invitations. Last year, I received additional invitations with identical wording. It seems there is some automated process that involves automated profile generation on LinkedIn.

The photos can be reverse-image search traced to other LinkedIn profiles with different names or pages from other people on the web.

The text opens with, “hi {name}, I am from Ukraine, just wanted to contact you and be in touch, maybe we could work together in the future.”

This was previously noticed by @larsjuhljensen:

The images from profiles are typically also found on other sites.

A Ukraine flag is used as the banner. Looking at one of the profiles, we see that it references “Temy” as a company. This is different from the “currently employed” company listed. It is a commonality of these profiles.
It seems the source could have been this .ru domain (other sites appeared, but this one had the uncropped photo).

Liubov, or Sophia?

Who is the imposter in this case? (Recall “Liubov” from the first image.)

First, here is the profile from the “network connection request” on LinkedIn. Notice the “Temy” reference in the About section, which doesn’t line up with the company.
Reverse image search: we see that the original image, likely the uncropped one, is found elsewhere. Note the Moscow reference.
Another LinkedIn profile using the same photo (but uncropped), but different name and title.

Kate, or Anna?

Below is another instance of the same type of profile, where the user’s image appears on another site with a different name.

A typical profile showing the Ukraine flag with the standard “About” section.
Same image, different name, different website, different job!
Another profile on LinkedIn. The profile history includes a background in Moscow.

Possible Explanations

It’s too early to draw any conclusions, but I’d be curious if others have ideas.

Some commonalities include:

  • use of the Ukraine flag as a background
  • profile sources somehow being connected with Moscow
  • copied invitation text and About text in the profile
  • a company mismatch in the profile

I’ve reached out to a couple people from this investigation and am waiting for replies.

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