You are here

LinkedOUT

For a company like ours that deals primarily with other businesses, LinkedIn would seem like the place to be: a platform that’s all business all the time, connecting decision makers with other decision makers and making us all more successful. That’s how it’s supposed to go, anyway.

My reality has been a little different. When it comes to LinkedIn, I find myself mostly playing goalie, swatting away innumerable connection requests from people who have no legitimate reason to connect. They’re almost all selling something, and the result is a feeling that’s more like a Turkish bazaar than a business platform.

The upshot is that I don’t spend a lot of time there. So imagine my surprise when I logged in recently and – well, tried to log in recently, only to find that my account was placed on restriction for “violation of terms of use.” Wondering how I could have violated the terms without actually using the platform, I dug a little deeper.

A Google search revealed that the most common reason for a suspended account is too many declined connection requests. Nope, not me, although they might want to take a look at all these people who are coming out of the blue and trying to connect with me.

Finally, the answer: in my junk email folder I found notice from LinkedIn of a password reset, about a month ago. You might think they would have viewed this action with some suspicion since it happened in Lagos, Nigeria, but no. They allowed an overseas stranger to reset my password, and then kindly told me about it after the fact.

Turns out there’s good news and bad news: the good news is that this made me officially invisible to the endless stream of salespeople. The bad news is that I was also invisible to the people I actually want to be connected with.

So what to do? Many websites will shepherd you through their “knowledge base” for support in an effort to avoid having to task an actual human being to help you, and LinkedIn raises this to an art form. After navigating through multiple screens to find a link where I could actually ask for help, I did just that.

LinkedIn responded and asked me to prove that I really was me by providing a scan of my driver’s license. I did so and today, a week later, I got instructions from LinkedIn on reactivating my account, starting with a password reset and continuing to advice on additional security steps. Noticeably absent was any response to how they possibly could have allowed my account to be compromised from Nigeria.

If you need me, don’t look on LinkedIn.

Mike Popowski is President of PBI Restorations. Reach him at mike@pbirestores.com