Heather W. is a 26-year-old American accountant who's lived in Moscow for four years. In mid-December she received one of the biggest shocks of her life when her U.S. bank sent a statement saying she had withdrawn $6,500 from her account out of various automatic teller machines in Israel-a country she had never been to.

"The thieves made a circuit from ATM to ATM, each time taking out the daily maximum," she says. "I mean I was never in Israel, and can prove it."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.