As you should know by now, credit cards have evolved the past few years with the addition of embedded microchips on the cards themselves.
With this upgrade, these new cards are supposed to be safer since instead of swiping a magnetic strip encoded with your information, they generate unique codes for each transaction.
With retail outlets gradually converting their point-of-sale systems to accommodate these more secure chip-based cards, criminals have started to change their tactics and move away from physical skimmers.
Thieves are now turning to a technique called "account takeover," where they pose as a customer to steal personal and financial information from user accounts online. With this shift, cases of account takeovers have reportedly increased by nearly 40 percent in 2016 (compared to 2015).
By using this technique, criminals contact banks and gain access to the victims' accounts by using personal details stolen from other data breaches.
For example, just last week, CBS News reported the case of Marc Alfinez, a New Jersey resident who had his bank accounts taken over in minutes using said technique. The thieves apparently used his stolen personal information including his social security number, driver's license information, and wife's maiden name to change his online banking password.
“They had all my pedigree information: social security card, driver’s license, wife’s maiden name, all that stuff,” Alfinez told CBS News. “But they couldn’t pass the phone password. But since they had all that other information, they still let them in.”