What is Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)?
Account Takeover Fraud occurs when criminals gather enough of your information to gain access to your account(s), usually online or over the phone, and in many cases then change essential information such as your login and/or mailing address. Then the criminal(s) may use that information to open additional accounts, request checks and withdraw funds. Another type occurs when they use skimmed card data to make purchases on your account.
This type of fraud leads to an essential question. How do they get the information they need to access your account? Some of the most common ways they collect data follow below:
- Malware/Infection - Data can be collected from logins and forms if your device is infected.
- Phishing by email, text or phone - You will always get requests for your information. Learn how to recognize the scams.
- Card Skimmers - Card information can be captured and used to create fake cards. Learn more about skimmers.
- Data Breach - Systems get hacked and data gets leaked. Unfortunately, that seems to have become very common. Chances are very good that your data has been captured from at least one breach or more. You can check to see if your information may have been exposed here.
- Stealing Mail or Dumpster Diving - Mailboxes and trash cans can be more risky than you mail realize, especially if your accounts are listed.
Can Account Takeover Fraud Be Stopped?
While there will never be any sure-fire, 100% perfect solution, you can and should reduce the likelihood of account takeover. Raising awareness is the first step. You can follow the tips below to help keep yourself and others safer from account takeover. Chances are pretty good that you know someone who might be more susceptible to scams and unaware of the threats. Be sure to share this information with them.