ATLANTA (WSAV) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handles several cases including missing children, tax fraud, drug enforcement and cyber crimes. However, a new study shows cybercriminals continue to target Georgians online.

Especially older adults.

The FBI said hackers are buying ads to impersonate businesses and trick users to provide login information or download malware to their computers.

“A lot of these scams target people or take advantage of people shopping online,” FBI Atlanta Special Agent Chad Hunt said. “So we’ll see a lot of scams for websites or individuals selling hard-to-get items sometimes those items are at prices that are too good to be true.”

Experts say always double-check the web address for typos and type it directly to the browser bar.

The FBI says to use multi-factor authentication, change your passwords frequently and avoid using public wifi networks to access sensitive data. 

“I think that people oftentimes they don’t realize they’re getting hit by these charges,” said Daniel McCarthy, Assistant Marketing professor at Emory University. “There are a lot of people who probably don’t check their credit card statements on a regular basis and by the time they get around to, it’s either too late or they feel like enough time has passed that they just don’t feel like going back and disputing a charge.”

“A lot of the scams that we see involve either somebody paying for something that never gets delivered or reciprocating if they have an item to sell, sometimes they will ship it and never get paid for,” Hunt said. “We see a lot of scams at this time of the year standing up fake charities. This time of the year a lot of people are in need and want to make charitable donations and unfortunately, scammers will take advantage of the good nature of most people and put forward fake charities to ask for donations for.”

The FBI says a nonpayment/non-delivery had the highest number of reported cases in 2022, with business email compromise scams costing Georgian the most last year.

Other top scams include romance scams, fake investments and personal identity breaches and phishing scams to steal your personal data.

To file a complaint, you can call, mail in or submit an online form to Georgia’s Department of Consumer Protection, or submit an online tip to the FBI.