JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Think before you click! That's the warning from the FBI and consumer advocacy groups to digital consumers this holiday season.
The FBI sent a warning to consumers about a new scam that targets online shoppers. The FBI said the criminals hope to catch shoppers during the holidays, when online shopping is at its peak.
"I online shop monthly if not more frequent," Kay Taylor said.
If you are like Taylor, scammers could be targeting you online.
The FBI said criminals send emails to shoppers. The email appears to come from a major retailer and asks you to confirm a purchase or give feedback. When the link in the email is clicked, a malware software is downloaded to your device, allowing hackers to access personal information.
Taylor said she just had a virus hit her computer that sounds similar.
"Clicking on ads and a search engine took over my computer and changed my proxies and settings," Taylor said.
The consumer advocacy group said shoppers, who take advantage of online deals, would expect a confirmation email following a purchase.
To keep your information safe, the FBI warns consumers to never respond to unsolicited emails and never click on the links in those emails. If you have recently made an online purchase, call the retailer to make sure the email is genuine.
Taylor said she tries to be aware of the sites she's visiting.
"I'm pretty cautious about the sites I go to that I know are secure," Taylor said.
Nikki Bowman is an online shopper, and she also tries to visits sites that are secure.
"I always make sure that the websites have the secure tabs at the top," Bowman said. "It will show you if it's secure or not."
Another tip from the FBI is to compare the link in the email with the real web address for the retailer to see if they match. Also, avoid filling out forms contained in the email message, especially if it asks for personal information.
Taylor and Bowman advise everyone to check their bank statements.
"I watch my bank statement, my credit card statement," Taylor said.
"I have an app on my phone to get on there and see everyday," Bowman said.
Even with the threat of scammers, Taylor said she will not stop online shopping.