Just remember that LinkedIn, as well as other social media and internet sites, also allows for fraudsters to build false credibility. And they can be convincing. Due diligence is extremely important if you are going to invest a lot into a relationship, whether that investment is time, money, or your personal business credibility.
Some notes I've made recently just going about my daily business activities:
1) Recently someone invited me to connect with him on LinkedIn. This person was connected to various people I personally knew at my old employer. This included a C-suite executive who was one of the five most important people in this global institution while I worked there, a high level retired consultant, other senior executives, as well as more junior staff.
As he appeared to be a high level entrepreneur in an East Asian country with a lot of shared relationships, I was interested in learning more about him. Last night (presumably his morning), we had an exchange during which it became evident that he was a fraudster. He had probably connected with all of these people without knowing them in order to gain credibility, and like me, they had been intrigued by the shared connections and high level relevant profile. I ended up blocking his profile, and spent a few sleepless hours wondering about the sometimes convincing nature of evil.
2) There are currently seven people on LinkedIn claiming that they work for my company, when they have categorically never had any relationship with SH International LLC EVER. I have noticed that these people tend to have less description in the job listing than those who have in fact legitimately worked with SH International as partners, advisors, contractors, and interns. We don't have any full-time employees except for me. Some do make up fancy titles for themselves like Systems Engineer! Feel free to e-mail me about anyone presenting SH International credentials to you - I am super enthusiastic about sharing information about all those who have sincerely supported our work and initiatives.
3) As you can understand from the previous example, some of the false information out there may not be intentional on the part of all parties involved. I certainly do not want to partake in these misrepresentations, even if they do make SH International seem a lot bigger. In fact, several more people have pretended to have a job with SH International than the aforementioned seven. However, I already reported them to LinkedIn to have their profiles delinked. It is difficult and cumbersome to keep up with their removal, however. If anyone has suggests for streamlining this, please share.
In the Multinational Entrepreneur Training, part of what we cover is the incredible importance of not skipping due diligence as a multinational entrepreneur, as this is a critical corner you will not want to cut. We also discuss some ways to assess how extensive to be in your due diligence, and some methods for doing that due diligence. We also cover the importance of building trust slowly and over time with potential partners, clients, distributors, and other key parties.
Be safe out there, multinational entrepreneur. There is a world of opportunities, but also a world of risks. One must be pragmatic and street-smart, maintaining a high level of awareness.