The Differences Between a Real Recruiter and a Fake: How to Protect your Sensitive Data

internet securityOver the past few years’ news outlets have regularly featured headlines relating to “Data Breaches”, “Third Party Data Hacked”, “Hackers Leak Customer Information”, the list goes on. It appears that 2015 has been no different; several companies have been the target of nefarious individuals ranging from British Airways, Carphone Warehouse, Talk Talk and even VTech, a toy manufacturer in which over 700,000 children’s profiles were compromised.

However, a variety of people that are a victim of identity theft didn’t have their information leaked or stolen. In fact, they gave the sensitive information freely on various social media sites and one of the most common is LinkedIn.

The BBC LinkedIn_logo_initialsrecently reported that an increasing number of hackers are beginning to target professionals via LinkedIn. An investigation conducted by the security firm Symantec revealed dozens of fake accounts across various industries have been created with the sole purpose of connecting with business professionals, in order to persuade users to give up personal details, lure them to suspicious sites laden with malware.

Although many of these fake accounts have been removed by LinkedIn and they are making steps in order to protect user data with authorisation methods. Many users are still naively falling into the trap of divulging too much personal information.

LinkedIn accounts have become a new favourite as many prospective candidates (and even clients) expect recruiters to connect with them on LinkedIn, proving to be difficult to spot a fake account as the information has often been taken from existing recruiters.

As we acknowledge and understand the importance of LinkedIn to business professionals, both those job hunting and those already established within the industry, our own recruiter Georgina Traynor has provided some facts on what a true recruiter does and doesn’t do via LinkedIn and tips to protect your sensitive data:

  • A recruiter will always have the full job specification and the details available online
  • If a company looks suspicious, try and find out more info by looking for a website or social media accounts, you can also look up their Company house on the site
  • Recruiters will always be happy to chat with you on the phone and will provide more information on the role and the company in person.
  • If in doubt, do a reverse image search on the recruiter’s image, this can be done simply in Chrome just by right clicking on the photo. If it appears on any stock image sites, then it is definitely a fake
  • All recruiters will gladly meet face to face at your convenience, so if you are ever in doubt suggest a meeting
  • If you are at an established company then it is highly likely a good recruiter will have a mutual acquaintance, if not they will have some past clients who will be happy to recommend them
  • Always have a stripped down version of your CV available that omits personal details to provide to any online contacts
  • A recruiter will NEVER ask for your personal bank details
  • Recruiters will quite often give their work mobile for you to contact them or an address of their office
  • Read up on privacy settings to ensure sensitive information isn’t public, you can learn how to do this in the help section
  • LinkedIn also provide a two-step verification process; this will stop others gaining access to your account
  • Keep your information on your LinkedIn account business orientated, rule of thumb: If you won’t mention it in a job interview, don’t have it on your LinkedIn profile.

If you wish to get into direct contact with any of our recruiters about your life science staffing needs, please call us on 0118 959 4990 or email us at

Career Advice