Analysts at the market research firm Gartner are warning consumers of a new scamming technique known as flash attacks that can fetch criminals up to $500,000 a month, reports The Register. The technique targets loopholes in payment processors' defenses.
Flash Attacks occur when money mules who have access to stolen identities visit ATMs and withdraw small sums of money from a single account. They then repeat this process for several other accounts, eventually amassing a large total sum.
"The resulting cash transactions fly under the radar of existing fraud.
detection systems - they are typically small amounts that don't raise any alarms," said Avivah Litan, vice president of Gartner, in her blog. She coined the phrase flash attacks because the illegal withdrawals from ATMs can happen in minutes.
The scam begins after thieves have compromised a consumer's personal information. They then use this data to create hundreds of thousands of fake payment cards, and use those cards at the ATMs.
The Federal Trade Commission reports that approximately 9 million cases of ID theft happen in the U.S. every year. Consumers who want to minimize their risk of fallen victim to cybercrime may want to consider enrolling in a secure payment service.