The first sign of trouble was a call from Brooke Frizzell's bank: Had her husband, Craig, just called in claiming to have forgotten his account password?
Frizzell quickly confirmed the bank's suspicions of fraud. Craig was in a Milwaukee hospital recovering from emergency brain surgery. "Maybe he really did forget his password," she said —but he definitely wasn't calling from Miami to do a little light banking.
The warning wasn't fast enough.
"Within the next half hour, this person [impersonating Craig] called the bank again, spoke to someone else and initiated a $3,500 wire transfer out of my savings account," she said.
That kind of nasty surprise is one that more consumers can expect to encounter. So-called account-takeover fraud — which entails thieves using stolen information to access a consumer's accounts and transfer money — was up 31 percent in 2016 from 2015, according to a Javelin Strategy & Research report from earlier this year. Losses due to such fraud topped $2.3 billion, a 61 percent increase over the same period.