A 2020 study revealed another troubling trend in which criminals are now using high-tech schemes to hijack consumer accounts, despite the methods financial institutions are putting in place to identify and respond to identity fraud. The increase in losses is due to a shift in tactics from cybercriminals, who are now focusing on fraudulently opening and taking over accounts instead of credit card fraud.
The study found that account takeovers are trending at the highest loss rate, increasing by as much as 72% over the prior year. Criminals are using tactics such as social engineering, spear-phishing and data exfiltration to gain unauthorized access to online accounts belonging to their victims, making it more difficult to detect fraudulent activity. Cybercriminals have also learned to work much faster, with most being able to take over accounts in less than a day.