Fraudster uses Linkedin to fleece microchip buyers

An electronics industry organisation has warned of a criminal using professional networking platform LinkedIn to defraud silicon chip producers by pretending to work for a UK-based electronics distributor.

Electronics supply chain specialist ERAI warns in a recent blog post that someone posing as Howard Carrick – who claimed to be working for Express Electronics – took an order from an unnamed buyer for 18,000 units of a Texas Instruments component valued at almost $130,000.

The payment terms were 20% by wire transfer in advance, and almost $26,000 was transferred to a bank account supplied by the fraudster. When the chips were not received, the buyer tried to contact Howard Carrick to no avail.

After reaching out to Express Electronics, it emerged that no one named Howard Carrick was employed by the company, and the email address used ( did not match company's registered domain (

An investigation into the wire fraud revealed a fairly sophisticated scam, with a fake LinkedIn profile that used imagery and text close to those used by the genuine company, fraudulent invoices using falsified company credentials including phone and VAT numbers and a fake website.

Shockingly, even though the fraud has been reported to LinkedIn, Howard Carrick's profile – which has 330 followers – remains active at the time of writing.

LinkedIn told CNBC in June that it has been experiencing an increase in fraud, but took down 32 million fake accounts last year.

From July to December 2021, the platform's automated defence systems blocked 96% of all fake accounts, according to the company's most recent security update.

That included 11.9m profiles that were stopped at registration and 4.4 million that were proactively restricted. LinkedIn members reported 127,000 fake profiles that were also removed.

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