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For scams, it’s the most wonderful time of year

You’ve no doubt heard about “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Well, how about the “12 Scams of Christmas”?

That’s what McAfee, the Internet security company, headlined a recent news release aimed at warning consumers to be extremely vigilant this holiday-shopping season against Scrooge-inspired fraudsters.

“The potential for identity theft increases as consumers share personal information across multiple devices that are often underprotected,” Michelle Dennedy, vice president and chief privacy officer for McAfee, said in a statement.

“Understanding criminals’ mind-sets and being aware of how they try to take advantage of consumers can help ensure that we use our devices the way they were intended – to enhance our lives, not jeopardize them.”

McAfee, which has assembled such a list for years, certainly isn’t the only business or consumer organization offering advice to shoppers this season. The Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, AARP, online sites such as Scambook and Scambusters, and even the FBI have posted tips on their websites.

Connie Quillen, executive assistant at the Albuquerque-based Better Business Bureau Serving New Mexico and Southern Colorado, says her office hasn’t received many holiday-related complaints or inquiries – yet.

But given ’tis the season for such scams, Quillen says consumers should be on the lookout for two in particular: purchasing goods from a website that doesn’t have any products – or at least has no intention of shipping them – and buying gift cards that already have been compromised.