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Analysts at Dojo, a payments provider under the Paymentsense brand, have revealed the TOP 10 brands most used in phishing email attacks by fraudsters to scam people across the UK, and popular online employment service LinkedIn is among them.

The data looked at the number of Google searches for well-known brands and scams. For example ‘LinkedIn scam’ and found that the percentage increase year-on-year was staggeringly higher. 

With more people relying on online technologies, there’s been a unique opportunity for scammers to impersonate brands and target those who have had to rely on email to connect with companies. 

LinkedIn scam searches have increased by +23% over the past year

Ranking Company Name Search Volumes % Search Increase (12 months)
1 PayPal 65,470 +81%
2 Amazon 42,120 +7%
3 DPD 32,970 +149,083%
4 DVLA 17,530 +2,731%
5 Apple 14,280 -55%
6 Royal Mail 9,870 +1,077%
7 LinkedIn 6,220 +23%
8 Halifax 5,830 +2,041%
9 Virgin Media 3,500 -60%
10 Gov.uk 1,560 +371%

Since 2003 LinkedIn have helped millions find their perfect career fit with their professional networking service.  However, with over 700 million LinkedIn users, this has left an opportunity for scammers to target hopeful jobseekers and over 6,000 people this year alone have been searching for ‘LinkedIn Scam’. 

A report from eSentire has discovered that a group of scam artists known as “Golden Chicken” are currently sending out fake job offers in an effort to lure victims with a sophisticated backdoor Trojan. 

Tips on how to recognise LinkedIn scams

With this in mind LinkedIn have created five helpful tips on how to recognise these scams:

  • Financial requests: Do not provide payment or account credentials as part of the application process. Legitimate companies should not require transfers, checks or the wiring of funds as a condition of the application process.
  • Promises of compensation: A posting that prominently focuses on the amount of pay you will receive in the first year, as an advance, or as a signing bonus.
  • Bad grammar: Postings that include multiple misspellings and grammatical errors.
  • Company impersonators: Postings that mirror a reputable company, but there’s no link to the business, mismatch domains, or there is difficulty with locating an address, business phone number, and/or email address.
  • General anonymity: Proceed with caution if you can’t quickly verify the identity of the poster. One way to confirm identity is to use a search engine to fact check. Simply input any available contact information from the sender, including phone number, email address and social media handles, to verify they are who they say they are. If you’re suspicious, it’s possible the anonymity is an intentional attempt to mislead you.

Amazon is one of the MOST impersonated brands in phishing email scams

Google search data reveals that e-commerce giant, Amazon, is the second most commonly impersonated brand by scammers, with a total of 42,120 people searching for ‘Amazon email scam’ – a 7% increase on last year.

DPD is another brand that has seen significant increases in fraudulent emails posing as its brand. Action Fraud received 5,478 reports of suspicious DPD emails in November 2020, a massive 655% increase compared to the previous month. 

During December of 2020, when consumers were mainly purchasing Christmas gifts for their loved ones online, DPD fraud was highly common. Victims recorded a loss of £103,000 in the first week of the month.