PAYPAL and Amazon are the top two brands fraudsters use in phishing email attacks to scam people in the UK, figures have revealed.

The data, produced by Dojo, a payments provider, looked at the number of Google searches for well-known brands and scams, 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.

Online payments company PayPal is impersonated the most in phishing email scams with a total of 65,470 people searching for ‘PayPal email scam’ - a whopping 81 per cent increase from last year.

Online retail store Amazon, with a yearly search volume of 42,120 (seven per cent increase from 12 months ago), is the second most used brand scammers tend to use.

Another delivery service in DPD follows them in third place. 32,970 people have searched for ‘DPD email scam’, a search increase of 149,083 per cent.

UK police’s dedicated team Action Fraud received 5,478 reports of suspicious DPD emails in November 2020, a massive 655 per cent increase compared to the previous month.

During December 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.

Others on the list include; DVLA (17,530, +2,731%), Apple (14,280, -55%), Royal Mail (9,870, +1,077%), Halifax (5,830, +2,041%), Virgin Media (3,500, -60%), (1,560, +371%), Boots (740, +200%).

Martin Wilson, Head of Remote Payments at Dojo, said: “Scammers are getting more creative with their deceit. With the rise in e-commerce accelerated by the global pandemic, seasoned fraudsters are seizing the opportunity to exploit the vulnerable and less-tech savvy.

"For the many people adopting new technologies such as online banking and shopping for the first time during COVID-19, these frauds are incredibly convincing and traumatic."

This rise is being monitored and managed by Action Fraud. But in the short-term, there are some ways consumers can protect themselves and minimise their risk of digital fraud.

Here are six tips to ensure you do not fall victim of fake phishing emails:

1. Check the sender’s email address

2. Check for poor spelling and grammar, or mistakes to the company’s name

3. Check the formatting of the email

4. Don’t rush to action their demands

5. Never send sensitive data via emails, or online links from emails or SMS

6. Contact the company implicated