HOUSTON (KTRK) --There's a warning for users of the popular networking site LinkedIn. Be careful the next time you receive an invitation to connect with someone. It could be someone trying to gain access to your personal information.
When Stephanie Payne received a LinkedIn request from someone looking to connect, she clicked on the link in her email. However, it directed her to a different website, warning she had been infected with a virus and to call a number to remove it.
"A gentleman answered the phone with a very thick accent. He told me he was going to remote into my computer to fix it," Payne explained.
She tells us there were too many red flags and hung up immediately. IT expert and private investigator, Colman Ryan, says she did the right thing.
"They've got tools, they'll get in there very quickly. All they need is a couple of minutes," Ryan said.
He says scammers are creating fake LinkedIn invitations, hoping users will click on the embedded links in the email. If they do, they're redirected to a site claiming to be Microsoft or LinkedIn, stating their computer is infected. To remove it, users are advised to call in and have it removed.
"They say yes, you do have a problem. They're going to be very insistent at connecting to your computer for obvious reasons. If they can get in, then they have the keys to the kingdom," Ryan said.
They're going after information stored in your web browser's auto-fill columns. If you use that feature regularly, hackers could retrieve your name, address, phone number, even account login and password information for your email, iCloud, even banking credentials.
So the best advice is not to click on the embedded links sent through email.
"Had I done it through my LinkedIn account, it would have been fine," Payne told us.
Experts advice to go to LinkedIn through the app, or website and directly login into your account. If the invitation is authentic, it will appear in your profile.