[STORY] Are your fans real?

Receiving a bunch of connection requests on social media
can be flattering but be extra cautious.

Are your fans real?

As you know, bestselling authors and speakers often have large tribes, who can support successful book launches. A large fan base raises your credibility and book sales.

But hackers and scammers in your tribe can also cause huge damage, as they lure people from your fan base into their dark schemes.

I recently had an insight about this.

After an esteemed speaking engagement, I got dozens of requests for LinkedIn connections.

Awesome, I thought. All these people loved my talk! I have a wonderful opportunity to grow my fan base and business connections.

A lot of the requests were from real experts, and I made many valuable business connections.

But my team and I soon discovered that many of the other connection requests were from fake people. As we checked each request, we found inconsistencies in their profiles, identities and geographic locations. These people claimed connection to the event I spoke at, but their profiles didn’t match.

This is the first time I have gotten fake connection requests from LinkedIn. It was so alarming. I wanted to spread the word with you.

I’ve battled scammers on Facebook, emails, text messages, phone messages and elsewhere. 

But this is my first time discovering scammers on a business network.

Scammer clues I’d like to share with you:

  • Their profiles on one platform don’t show up on other social media platforms.
  • They have very few connections, especially for the positions they say they are in.
  • They have no posts relevant to their position.
  • Their emails are from free email hosts, even though they claim to represent a company.
  • They often have bad grammar.
  • They decline video calls and insist on email communication.
  • They promise rich deals with rich potential returns.
  • I’ve even had men complimenting me on how beautiful I look, and how they would be honored to get to know me. (Scammer alert!)

It’s flattering to get connection requests and it helps our social media statistics, not to mention book launches.

But is it worth the risk of having scammers and hackers in your network?

Such scammers threaten the very foundation of our civil society. They also undermine our credibility as authors.

My team deleted and blocked all contacts we deemed to be fake. Have you done the same? If not, you may want to.

Don’t mean to be a downer, but I wanted to sound an alarm.

I’m happy to chat. 

Shoot me an email if you like—just give me a way to verify you’re a real person.

Of course, if you want to talk about your book project, I’m also happy to chat.

by Helen Chang, ABM Editorial Director

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