© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Former PM calls out LinkedIn user for 'catfishing'

Antoinette Spicer
Helen Clark official photo
Helen Clarke  Wikimedia commons

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has reported and publicly scorned a LinkedIn user for using a photograph of her.

The account was brought to Clark's attention when Gorilla Technology CEO, Paul Spain received a request from the dodgy user and decided to screenshot the account and tag the former PM.

“Tip for those creating fake social media profiles - don’t steal a photo of a high profile individual from the country you’re pretending to be from - especially not a former Prime Minister,” posted Spain.

The post garnered over 500 likes and 80 comments including from Helen Clark herself.

“Agree - that has to be fairly dopey,” Clark commented.

The former PM then took a more serious tone requesting people to report the profile to LinkedIn.

"PS It would be appreciated if people would report the Julie Daltrey site as a fake one which is impersonating someone else. I have done so, but social media platforms can be very slow to react and remove such sites," Clark commented.

Clark told Metronews she regularly reports fake accounts using her photos on LinkedIn.

Paul Spain said it was hard to predict how popular his post would be. 

“As I tagged Helen Clark I expected she’d see it, however, I didn’t know whether to expect a comment from her or not,” he said.

“I’ve had quite a few unusual requests on LinkedIn … being invited to connect with a fake profile isn’t too unusual. However, this request is the first one from a fake account with a profile photo that I recognised.”

Spain said the account not only remains active but appears to be growing in its connections which have exceeded 500 so far.

Most users found the post humorous with some users even speculating the culprit was a person bored from being stuck in lockdown.

"Some people are seriously bored at the moment," commented one user.

"Funny how hackers are devious but stupid - criminal mind in a nutshell?" questioned another.

However, other users were concerned.

"Helen Clark is a highly respected public figure, but this does not mean anyone can use her profile picture," one user commented.

"What’s even more concerning is the 45 people you know that clicked accept for someone that they don’t know,” replied another.

LinkedIn has been approached for comment.