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Atlas VPN Finds PayPal and Mastercard Are Most Impersonated in Financial Phishing Schemes in 2021

Scammers create emails and websites that impersonate the top brands worldwide, in hopes of tricking victims into giving up their financial accounts or credit card information.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, PayPal and Mastercard most used in financial phishing schemes in 2021. Furthermore, Apple and Amazon were the most abused e-shop brands for phishing attack campaigns.

In financial phishing attacks, PayPal was the most used payment system brand, making up 37.8% in 2021. Cybercriminals set up a page that looks nearly identical to PayPal’s login page and spread the malicious website through emails.

Mastercard ranked second in the attacked payment system, ranking at 12.2%. Threat actors launch phishing attacks related to Mastercard with the intent to obtain your credit card information.

American Express accounted for 10% of phishing attacks related to payment system brands in 2021.

Cybersecurity writer at Atlas VPN, Vilius Kardelis shares his thoughts on how to mitigate financial phishing attacks:

“To avoid getting tricked by a phishing attack targeting payment systems, users should keep in mind several things. Websites impersonating popular brands will always have suspicious domain links, which can help to recognize whether the page is legit easily. Also, emails from scammers might contain grammatical errors, so keep an eye out for that.”

E-shop brands abused in phishing attacks

Scammers trying to benefit from established e-shop brands usually launch phishing attacks during holiday and discount seasons.

Cybercriminals impersonated Apple e-shop the most, as it represented 48.78% of financial phishing attacks in 2021.

One of the largest e-commerce brands, Amazon, was used in 21.48% of financial phishing attacks. As Amazon is recognized worldwide and used by many people, scammers are inclined to abuse this brand for their benefit.

Cybercriminals impersonated eBay in 5.32% of financial phishing schemes in 2021. At the same time, phishing campaigns related to a Chinese multinational tech company Alibaba accounted for 4.14% of attacks.


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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