Someone Plagiarized My LinkedIn Profile!

LinkedIn Profile Plagiarism

It doesn’t happen often but it happens with enough regularity that I decided it was time to blog about it. Blog about what? LinkedIn Profile PLAGIARISM!

As I said, this is not a common occurrence but it has happened in the past and because humans are humans, it will continue to happen. A person may be looking to optimize their LinkedIn profile and rather than putting in the work (or $$) themselves, they find an awesome profile that speaks to them and they copy and paste it into their profile. I truly believe the plagiarizer doesn’t realize what they are doing is wrong. In fact, when I have confronted people in the past about LinkedIn profile plagiarism, they have said, “But Donna, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!” Most people know it’s wrong to copy passages from a book into a college essay yet somehow, taking a LinkedIn profile is fine in their book.

Plagiarism of LinkedIn profiles is wrong!

One of the reasons I think people don’t see the issue with copying a LinkedIn profile is because so many LinkedIn profiles are copied and pasted from resumes. If it’s okay to copy and paste your resume into your LinkedIn profile, why not copy and paste another LinkedIn profile into your LinkedIn profile? Right? WRONG!

I’ve said this before and I simply don’t get tired of saying it:

Your LinkedIn profile is NOT your resume. Your resume is your career history. Itís dull, boring and often task-based. Your LinkedIn profile is your CAREER FUTURE! Itís who you are, how you help people, and why you deserve to be noticed. A POWERFUL LinkedIn Profile sells YOU! Don’t copy and paste your resume! Use this opportunity to take control of your Internet identity and truly present yourself in a way that inspires, impresses, and builds confidence in your abilities, products, and services.

Each LinkedIn profile should be unique and copying & pasting from a resume OR from another person’s LinkedIn profile is wrong.

How Can I Determine If Someone Is Plagiarising MY LinkedIn Profile?

Most of the people who contact me for help find out because they see the plagiarizer snooping around their profile in the Profile Stats page. Keeping an eye on your Profile Stats (Who’s Viewed My Profile) is one way but there is a more proactive way to find out if your LinkedIn profile was plagiarized:

1. Open up your LinkedIn profile.

2. Copy a phrase from your profile. You may opt to copy your Headline or a sentence within your Summary.

Checking if Your LinkedIn Profile has been Plagiarized

3. From LinkedIn’s Advanced Search page, paste this phrase, encased in quotes, into the Keyword search field:

LinkedIn Profile Plagiarism

Click the Search button.

Did only your LinkedIn profile appear in the search results or were more profiles listed?

If your profile is the only result, you may want to copy a different phrase from your LinkedIn profile and try again.

Much to my own surprise, I have more than 1 result!
LinkedIn profile plagiarism
4. Click the other person’s LinkedIn profile to view it completely.

This guy totally plagiarized my LinkedIn profile

This is a clear case of plagiarism. Yes, the person changed a few words here and there but the majority of the content is a direct copy and paste from my LinkedIn profile.

What To Do When A Person Plagiarizes Your LinkedIn Profile

Okay, so now you know there is a person out there copying your LinkedIn profile. What do you do?

First off, is this a case of plagiarism where they really did lift a lot of text or just a little? In the example above, the person did in fact steal my work. But is it worth me going after him? The profile appears to be a joke. The person in the profile picture is a child and he is located in India. It’s really not worth me going crazy. Now if this person was a LinkedIn profile writer and they are stealing my words and potential business, I might feel differently. There are times when the plagiarism is a violation and it must be stopped.

Check out this example:

Plagiarized My LinkedIn Profile

Here are two LinkedIn profiles… virtually mirror images! The original profile is a Platinum client of mine. He found the copy after noticing William Page lurking around his profile one Saturday afternoon.

This is an unusual sitation because it’s not just a case of a person copying and pasting his Headline and Summary. This person is copying his EXPERIENCES and EDUCATION too! Because this person copied EVERYTHING, I don’t believe he is a real person. Most likely, this is a SPAMMER who needed to look legitimate and he copied and pasted a great looking LinkedIn profile. More often than not, you will find just the Summary or Headline copied. Regardless of the situation, here are the directions on what you can do to remove the copied profile:

3 Ways to STOP LinkedIn Profile Plagiarism

1. CALL THE PERSON ON THE PHONE
What? Call them up and confront them directly? Yes. Believe me, it’s far too easy to ignore emails. By picking up the phone and talking to the other person, you are showing you mean business. You also are increasing the odds that they will remove the plagiarized parts of their profile.

Here’s what to say:

“Hi William! My name is Dave and I am looking at your LinkedIn profile right now… your profile is quite impressive! In fact, it appears to be a direct copy and paste of MY profile. I am sure this was inadvertant on your part but I worked long and hard on creating a profile that was unique to me. Rather than report this to LinkedIn, I figured it would be best to contact you directly because, like I said, I am sure you didn’t mean to steal my profile.

If you need help creating a POWERFUL LinkedIn profile, you can buy Donna Serdula’s book, LinkedIn Makeover: Professional Secrets to a POWERFUL LinkedIn Profile OR you can even hire her to write your LinkedIn profile for you!

Okay, you don’t have to include the advertisement for my services in your conversation ūüôā

You will most likely find the person is apologetic and a little embarassed. Don’t yell at them. Be polite and nice. I know you feel violated but it’s not worth taking your anger out on the other person. Trust me when I tell you they really didn’t mean it.

2. FLAG THEIR PROFILE
If you absolutely can’t figure out how to obtain the person’s contact information OR the person wasn’t interested in being polite, it’s time to report their profile to LinkedIn.

Reporting a Plagiarized LinkedIn Profile

From their Public Profile, click the Connect Button and choose Flag as Inappropriate. A pop up box will appear. Choose Misrepresentation from the droplist. In the Details box, write something like this:
[box type=”shadow”]This profile is a direct copy and paste of my profile. Here is my original profile: http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/toDonna[/box]

3. CONTACT LINKEDIN’S TECHNICAL SUPPORT
You tried contacting the person and you flaggged their profile as problematic. Now it’s time to contact LinkedIn directly. Visit LinkedIn’s Help site by clicking here. Once at LinkedIn’s Help site, click the Contact Us link on the top Navigation bar. You may have to perform a search before LinkedIn allows you to click the Contact us link.

Provide LinkedIn with the name of the member, the URL link or screenshot of the profile and a description of exactly what has been plagiarized.

If you are a non-paying member, you may hear back from LinkedIn within the next millenium. If you are a premium member, you should definitely hear back from LinkedIn within the next 6 weeks to 6 months. LinkedIn values customer service and they believe in providing timely assistance.

Eventually, LinkedIn will research the issue and act upon their findings.

In Summary

When people have reached out to me for help on dealing with a plagiarized LinkedIn profile, they all share a feeling of being violated and victimized. It’s terrible when you work long and hard to create a unique profile only to find that someone took your words and made them their own. Even though our natural tendency is to strike out, I caution you against it. Make sure the situation warrants the removal of the text… remember my first example in this blog post! Sometimes it’s best to accept it as flattery and move on. If it is a situation where the person is out and out stealing, work with them nicely. Call them on the phone and demonstrate your professionalism. Take the high road… even if you want to throw the person off the high road to the ocean below and watch them splash around.

Has your LinkedIn profile ever been plagiarized? How have you handled it? Do you have any best practices to share? Please post in the comments below. Just scroll down!

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8 Comments

  1. One of the reasons I think people donít see the issue with copying a LinkedIn profile is because so many LinkedIn profiles are copied and pasted from resumes. If itís okay to copy and paste your resume into your LinkedIn profile, why not copy and paste another LinkedIn profile into your LinkedIn profile? Right? WRONG!

  2. I just read your article Donna as im currently facing the same issue. Someone has copied my entire profile, did I say it right? Yes the entire profile word to word including education.I wrote to linkedin and all they sent was forms to fill to take action and to let a fair chance for the other party to speak up (yeah right). However, I didn’t fill the forms cos I don’t want the other party to realise that im affected by it.

  3. Yes , it has indeed happened to me….recently AND from an ex-coworker. Portions of my opening summary and job experience copied “word for word” , even the mistake I put in on purpose in one of the job duties for tracking.

    I am a paid member and the BIG HELPFUL wonderful reaction from Linkedin….”go see a lawyer for copyright violation”.

    some help…big deal….great folks. I have kept monthly copies of my linkedin page over the last 2 years and can therefore prove I was first with the verbiage. LINKEDIN should contact them and have the ex-coworker take down the copied information.

  4. It has happened to me not once, but twice. I feel totally violated. The first time it happened to me, I contacted linked-in and was sent a bunch of forms to sign (which I didn’t) but not it’s happened again. I don’t know how many copy cats of my profile are out there. Don’t people have any morals? This is unethical according to me.

  5. Erika Kerekes says:

    Dear Donna,

    I had my LinkedIn profile picture stolen from me and another person’s name appear under my picture “Glen Evans” with a U.K. LinkedIn profile address that leads directly to LinkedIn login page.I contacted LinkedIn about it and they did nothing. I am also thinking that they could be advertising with my picture, but I have not given permission to do that.
    I have closed my account now because I have trust issues with LinkedIn as well as I asked Google to remove my picture from searches with that fake name. They still has not done anything, but asked for my identification. I sent them a copy of my passport with my birthdate covered to prove who I am. I must be a very interesting person to steal my picture. I am originally from the EU and in my country the copyright law is very serious.
    I am also thinking about to bring this issue to a lawyer and get to the bottom of this.

  6. I saw that someone had viewed my profile, and when I viewed theirs, discovered that their summary bore a striking resemblance to mine, including several instances of the exact same wording. After contemplating what if anything I should do about it, and reading your article, I contacted them and politely asked them to rewrite their profile in their own words. They promptly responded to apologize, mentioning also that they followed my work, and that they would rewrite theirs.

  7. This happened once to me that I know of so far. I’m currently a college student and I connected with some classmates on LinkedIn. I figured, since we know each other in real life and talked from time to time, why not? When I saw one of them view my profile and I clicked on theirs, I noticed they copied and pasted all the class projects I’ve done and changed a few words. We had the same major but took classes at different times. At first, I changed my words to be even better than the ones they copied. Then later removed my projects as I realized they weren’t exactly relevant to what I really wanted to do after graduating. Moving forward, I decided to work on making my own personal, individual projects that would be difficult to replicate and post links to them as proof. If I see this happen again, I’ll be sure to call whoever out on it.

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