MIAMI – Crooks are going fishing for your bank account information online and netting a bountiful catch.
For the past 12 months, the Gartner Research Group (search) found, nearly two million people in America have had their checking accounts robbed of an average of $1,200 — totaling more than $2 billion stolen nationwide.
The nefarious act in which crooks fish for ways to trick you into giving them your online banking information is called "phishing." Experts say cyber crooks are creating fake bank Web sites and using pop-up ads on your home computer to get the job done.
And the "phishing" expeditions have jumped 4,000 percent in the past month.
"All of [a] sudden, checking accounts are becoming one of the favorite spots criminals are gravitating to," said Aviva Leighton, of the Gartner Research Group.
The banking industry admits there is a problem, but that it's not as bad as the survey makes it out to be.
"We really have no evidence that that's how people are making unauthorized transactions through online banking," said Nessa Feddis, of the American Bankers Association (search). "Online banking is one more mechanism to use your bank account; just as with any payment mechanism there's going to be attempts at fraud. That's what criminals do."
Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by Fox News' Orlando Salinas.