NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The FBI and Secret Service wants you to be vigilant before buying things online.

There’s a national joint effort going on between the agencies to raise awareness about “E-Skimming.”

It’s a twist to the traditional skimming scam. E-Skimming or Virtual Skimming is when your credit card information is stolen online through E-commerce transactions.

The crazy part is, it’s completely invisible to the person making the transaction. Business owners don’t even know they have a problem.

E-Skimming is not a physical device. It’s software and malicious codes put into the credit card processing system. The FBI and Secret Service spoke with small business owners, letting them know about the issue and what they need to watch out for.

With the holidays just around the corner and people getting ready to use their credit cards online, agents said now is the perfect time for both business owners and customers to be on-alert.

"The problem is mostly going to be the responsibility of the merchant to take care of. And the consumer needs to be diligent and stay on top of their credit card transactions in case they see anything suspicious to report it,” said FBI Special Agent Kevin Varpness.

Here’s what businesses and agencies can do to protect themselves:

  • Update and patch all systems with the latest security software. Anti-virus and anti-malware need to be up-to-date and firewalls strong.
  • Change default login credentials on all systems.
  • Educate employees about safe cyber practices. Most importantly, do not click on links or unexpected attachments in messages.
  • Segregate and segment network systems to limit how easily cyber criminals can move from one to another.

If you have been a victim of this online scam or any other fraud, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or call your local FBI office

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