15 November 2013


I use LinkedIn a lot. I find it an excellent business networking tool and over the years, it has enabled me to meet some fantastic people and make lovely new friends. It’s a tool for reaching out and each time I receive a new connection request, I assume that I may be able to help that person in some way. In most cases, I remember that I have interacted with the individual outside of the social media sphere, but sometimes, I draw a blank (perhaps because my memory is getting worse with age!). Consequently, to frame the next interaction, I always look at their profile to see how many areas of interest are in common, how our respective networks intersect, or how many groups or companies are shared… More often than not, this gives me a good idea, but sometimes, it doesn't...
I think the little things in life always make a big difference, so if someone has made the effort to contact me, even if I really have no idea who they are and why they approached me, the least I can do is reply… So rather than accept their invitation straight away I always ask the very simple question (using “Reply – don’t accept yet”):

Hello name,
Have we met?
Kind regards,

I hope everyone will recognise that LinkedIn account names with a combination of a) first name and last name are all in lower case letters, b) the number of connections is very low, c) the professional/academic history non-existent, and d) the companies belonged to don’t really match the profile (these are just some examples, but you get the gist) can be questionable... On occasions, it may be someone new to LinkedIn, a student seeking advice or a number of other legitimate situations which can be verified by having a conversation before connecting.
Generally, I find that by asking the simple question above, the interaction ends. But sometimes, albeit rarely, it looks very different…
And so it came that this week, I received a few invites with the recognisable characteristics I mentioned. All these interactions ended after I asked my simple question which made me think, hmmm, with such a rapid succession of similar requests, perhaps someone is trying something out there…
And then, two days ago, I received this:

Looking at Mike’s profile, I drew a blank:

And therefore I replied:
Upon which I got the pithy answer below:
Not deterred, I wanted to know more…
And I got:

Aha! So it’s not "mike" anymore, it’s "Barrister Mike Aku", and the language is becoming more formal, and I have a phone number with a Togo prefix (at least it matches the profile…)

So, on my sleuthing mission, I dial the number from a specially purchased phone, hiding my number (well, you never know!), to be told in French (which is the official language of Togo) by a nice lady that the number I requested is not in service… I then dump the phone (yeah, I know, I’m running with it….). I’m having fun, so I reply:

You’d think that would be the end of it, but oh no… And so below is for your delectation:


Well, what can I say, I won’t analyse the characteristics of this email as many have done this very well before me, and 419 scams have been going on for sooooo long that it’s boring. Boring, but sad, because if they are still going on, it means people are still falling for them…

Now, I'm sure you will agree that I have given him plenty of chances to leave me alone... Did he even look at my profile to see what I do for a living?...So in my small way, I spread the word in this blog, and finished this episode on Linkedin with:

And reported it to Action Fraud

So if you received a connection invite from mike, aka Mike Abu, solicitor at law, barrister and personal attorney (or any similarly endowed individual), be kind to yourself and delete it... If you inadvertently accepted the invitation, go to "Network" then "Contacts", find the connection and then click on "More" and "Remove Connection"...

Stay safe (and if you think I can help, just give me a shout...).

Until next time,

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