Interpol Chief Admits Facebook ID Theft

By: Tracy Levine, President, Advantage Talent Inc.

As most people have heard by now, Interpol Chief Ronald Noble announced at the inaugural Interpol Security Conference in Hong Kong that criminals had used Facebook to steal his identity.  Before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion, they did not gain access to his identity by stealing information off of his Facebook Account.  Two Facebook Accounts were set up in Noble’s name where the criminals gathered information about a recent global Interpol-led Operation Infra Red.  The operation was for tracking down criminal fugitives who had fled national jurisdictions. 

Web 2.0 social networking is a catch-22 for many people.  Some think it is dangerous to put any information about themselves out on the web.  While others have no qualms about putting everything about themselves out on the internet.  There have been numerous articles written on the dangers of putting too much personal information on the internet.  In contrast, very few articles have addressed the consequences of not owning and managing your Web 2.0 social networking information.

If you do not claim your identity, brand and image someone else might. If Interpol Chief Robert Noble’s identity can be stolen, then anyone’s can.  It shows the ease with which the criminals are able to forge people’s identities across all forms of social media sites to steal information.  While I would not necessarily suggest everybody sign up for every Web 2.0 platform available, I would strongly suggest executives claim and control their Linkedin Profile.  For an executive, his/her contacts, clients and industry knowledge could be at stake if he/she ignores their Linkedin Profile.

According to Alexa, Linkedin traffic rank is 17th in the US and 27th in the world.   What does this mean to the typical executive?  Linkedin will come up before almost every company website in the US.  I.E. There are only 16 websites in the U.S. that rank higher than Linkedin.  If someone claims your identity on Linkedin, they have effectively stolen your identity.  Google Search and most other search engines will pull up your name in Linkedin on the first page before your company profile or any other internet information.  With aggregators such as ZoomInfo, 123 and many more, if someone steals your identity on Linkedin, the false information will get picked up by the web aggregators. It doesn’t take long for the identity theft to go viral.

What Executive group is the most vulnerable to Web 2.0 identity theft? The group that Interpol Chief Noble belongs to, 50+ years old.  According to Alexa, the largest group to participate on Linkedin is the 35 to 44 year age range.  The 55+ years and above age range are statistically too low to calculate.  This means that a large group of some of the most influential executives in the U.S. have left themselves vulnerable to a situation similar to Interpol Chief Ronald Noble.

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LinkedIn Recommendations For Your Job Hunt: Do They Help?

LinkedIn Recommendations For Your Job Hunt: Do They Help?

By: Tracy Levine, President, Advantage Talent, Inc.

Recently, I was forwarded an article about how Executives could get a job through LinkedIn.  One of the suggestions was to solicit recommendations for the hiring manager to read.  The observation was made that in the normal job situation you only get to provide a few recommendations but now with LinkedIn you can give the hiring manager even more positive recommendations to read.  The declaration made me laugh out loud.  Published studies show that the average hiring manager only looks at a resume for 10-15 seconds.  It flies in the face of logic to think that the hiring manager who only takes seconds to read a candidate’s resume is going to take even one second to read recommendations on LinkedIn.   Professional Executive Recruiters and HR Directors are tasked with asking specific questions that relate to the job at hand when calling a reference.  A short recommendation on LinkedIn isn’t even in the same league as a real recommendation and cannot be compared.

Some people have taken to attaching their LinkedIn recommendations to their resume. Most Executive Recruiters and hiring managers I have spoken with say they take recommendations on LinkedIn with a grain of salt.  Recommendations that are from people who have actually worked with the person or used a person’s services are the closest to real recommendations.  The problem with LinkedIn recommendations is that many people solicit recommendations from people who know them from social situations and networking but cannot speak to the person’s work experience.  Another problem is the “you give me a recommendation” and “I will give you a recommendation” situation.  Typically, these exchanges are not conducive to real or to meaningful recommendations.

Getting recommendations are great if you stick to only getting and giving recommendations to people you have personally worked with in a meaningful capacity.  However, no amount of recommendations can erase a checkered history.  It is the job of the Professional Recruiter or HR Director to do a thorough background check.

10 Rules of LinkedIn Group Etiquette

10 Rules of LinkedIn Group Etiquette

By: Tracy Levine, President, Advantage Talent, Inc.

1. Do not ask to join groups you are not qualified to join.  For example, if you do not qualify for the XYZ professional organization in the ‘real world’ then you don’t qualify in the LinkedIn world either.  Asking to join groups you are not qualified to join makes you appear to be a spammer.

2. Do not post job orders in the discussion section of the LinkedIn Group.  There is a job posting section…..Use it.  It may seem like everyone is looking for a job these days but many are not.

3.  Make sure to be relevant with your postings.  Don’t post just to post or to have your name everywhere. Make sure that the topics you chose are relevant to the group’s interests.   For example, if you are part of a LinkedIn wine group don’t post about your car collection. 

4.  Do not post inflammatory comments.  Most users of LinkedIn are established professionals.  They did not join the group to argue with you.  Also, posting inflammatory comments is a quick way to burn bridges in the professional community.

5.  Do not sell to members.  People do not join LinkedIn Groups just so you can have access to spam them with personal e-mails through LinkedIn.

6.  Do not, not, not post sale pitches for products in the Discussion Thread of a LinkedIn Group.  This is the quickest way to achieve negative brand recognition.

7. Do be a mentor.  Sharing your expertise with others and helping them reach their goals is appreciated by all.

8.  If you are the administrator of a group, check the requests to join often and frequently.

9.  Do not write anything that you do not want out in the public.  It may be a LinkedIn Group but it is not a confidential group.

10. DO NOT use the LinkedIn Groups as your personal blog.  This is my personal pet peeve and seems to be a growing trend in a couple of the LinkedIn Groups that I am a member.  Get your own blog, it’s cheap and it is free. (  If members of a group find you interesting they can sign up to follow your blog.