Envoy's LinkedIn account fake: US Embassy
16 Feb 2017 - 1:25
By Irfan Bukhari / The Peninsula
The US Embassy in Qatar yesterday asked residents to be aware of fake LinkedIn account of the Ambassador with which fraudsters may scam them out of money.
“We have recently been made aware of a fake LinkedIn account claiming to be Ambassador Dana Shell Smith. The only official, verified social media accounts belonging to the Ambassador and the US Embassy in Doha are listed on our website. Ambassador does not have a LinkedIn account or a Facebook account,” the US Embassy warned residents on its official Facebook page.
Ambassador Dana Shell Smith wrote herself on her official Twitter account @AmbDana: “Thank you all for flagging the fraudulent LinkedIn account. I am not on LinkedIn or Facebook. Beware of fake accounts.”
The US Embassy further wrote on its Facebook page: “If you received a job offer from the Ambassador or the Embassy, it is FAKE! These accounts purporting to be Ambassador Smith are being used in attempts to scam people out of money and are fake.”
“Any official correspondence from the US Embassy or an Embassy official will be from a properly formatted US Department of State email address ending in @state.gov. If you have been approached by someone claiming to be Ambassador Smith, or have other useful information on the case, please contact [email protected],” said the warning message.
The Embassy also issued the warning using its official Twitter handle (@USEmbassyQatar) advising people to “please report the fake account to @LinkedIn @LinkedInHelp.”
The fake LinkedIn account of the Ambassador has as many as 319 connections. A Siddiqui, a resident who received a connection request from the said fake LinkedIn account, told The Peninsula that he had received a request on February 13 for joining the network via email while some other people had also received such connection requests.
Earlier in 2015, the US Embassy in Qatar had also warned residents about similar fake accounts set up by fraudsters in the name of the Ambassador. “Any official correspondence from the US embassy or an Embassy official will be from a properly formatted US Department of State email address ending in @state.gov. The Embassy is working with Qatari authorities to investigate this matter,” the Embassy had said in a statement issued in November 2015.
Ambassador Smith, who served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs from 2011 to 2014 and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Media, took up her post in Qatar in September 2014. She had also worked as the State Department's Regional Arabic Language Spokesperson in Dubai. In April 2015, the US Embassy in Beirut had also warned social media users against fraudsters attempting to scam them of money.
A number of other state organisations like Qatar Airways, Qatar Petroleum etc have been warning people off and on about online fraud and phishing scam.
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.