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January 9, 2014

LinkedIn Files Suit Against Unknown Scammers

LinkedIn Pen
Photo Credit: TheSeafarer via flickr

Social media site LinkedIn is cracking down on scammers who violated the site’s policies by creating fake profiles to peruse users and steal their data.

While LinkedIn’s team isn’t yet sure who the offenders are, it’s taking preventative action against them by filing suit. According to the site, the accused created thousands of fake profiles with the intent to copy and extract data. LinkedIn refers to the activity as “scraping, spidering and crawling”, which goes directly against the site’s policies.

The offenders first bypassed LinkedIn’s site security in May 2013 and used an automated system to create the fake profiles. LinkedIn caught on to the scam when its developers noted these accounts were viewing slews of profiles over a short period of time.

According to Courthouse News, LinkedIn claims the scrapers “have violated an array of federal and state laws,” and “undermine(d) the integrity and effectiveness of LinkedIn’s professional network by polluting it with thousands of fake member profiles.”

“Moreover,” LinkedIn says in the lawsuit, “by pilfering data from the LinkedIn site, the Doe defendants threaten to degrade the value of LinkedIn’s Recruiter product, in which LinkedIn has invested substantially over the years.”

LinkedIn, according to PC Magazine, has a lead on the case through Amazon, as some of the individuals utilized Amazon Web Services to do their dirty work. It plans to ask the company to turn over any information it may have in relation to the scammers.

Aside from catching the those responsible, LinkedIn is also seeking  actual damages, statutory damages and exemplary damages for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the California Penal Code § 502, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, breach of contract, trespass and misappropriation.


Megan Abraham is a staff writer for SiteProNews.