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Scammers are out in force during the holidays — spreading viruses and financial misery instead of Christmas cheer.

You better watch out, but not for Santa's helper.

Scammers are out in force during the holidays — spreading viruses and financial misery instead of Christmas cheer.

Virus protection software company, McAfee, for example, listed on its website the "The 12 ID scams of Christmas." Some of the methods modern-day Grinches employ include mobile malware that can waylay Android devices — including querulous QR codes. There are apps that steal data instead of helping you find holiday deals and phony Facebook contests that want your personal information. Watch out for fake e-cards and holiday screen savers. There are even fake letters from UPS or banks that try to trick you out of your personal data.

MoneyTalksNews offers an alternative list of "The 12 Scams of Christmas." The list includes a few Scrooge wannabes posing as employers looking for seasonal work-from-home employees, but who really are just setting you up to steal your Social Security number. Bogus charities want your money, too And if you want a "ho ho ho" Christmas with high-end name-brand merchandise, make sure the goods are not cheaply made imitation merchandise or instead it will be a "faux faux faux" holiday.

And watch out for the old bait-and-switch, where you go for the low-priced item, but are tricked into a higher-priced item.

Reading Eagle also posted its own online list of, you guessed it, "The 12 scams of Christmas." Beware the popular toy being sold online — some people will take your money and never send the toy. And be careful of gift cards in stores; somebody may have already spent it online, so examine it to see if the PIN code is still covered.

And while you are juggling those bags of gifts, don't get so distracted that you become an easy mark for pickpockets.

NPR added another layer of Christmas joy by warning baby boomers about investment scams. One hallmark of Bad Santa's workshop are investments promising the principal won't be lost — guaranteed. Of course, a phone call to a state's securities office would be a good place to find out who is naughty and nice — or at least who is registered to sell an investment.

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