Better Business Bureau: Holiday Shopping Fraud

This week officially kicks off the holiday shopping season and it is a great time for gift giving, but don't let the joys of the season keep you from noticing the red flags for fraud and identity theft.

Scammers want either your money or your identity. Beware of online shopping deals that ask you to send money to someone that you don't know.

If you are shopping on your mobile device, always use a secured connection. The passwords you create for the retail websites should be strong by using symbols and numbers. And always save your purchase confirmation.

When shopping in stores, never carry government cards, passport or birth certificates. These are the top three documents for identity theft. Shopping with cash may prevent overspending.  However, using credit cards offers the most protection against fraud.

Always remember, not all holiday items can be returned. Ask first, read the fine print and keep receipts for proof of purchase.

To avoid fraud this holiday season, do your research, check out return policies, visit the BBB website for Business Reviews before handing over money.