'Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la. 'Tis the season to avoid getting scammed, fa la la la la, la la la la.

I say that one of the very BEST ways to enjoy the holiday season is to not be taken to the cleaners by bad actors who want what you have.

News4-Jacksonsville reports, via the Better Business Bureau, that there are a number of ways the Christmas season affords bad people the opportunity to scam you.

For example, several look-alike websites appear this time of year and they can trick you into divulging personal information. But there are things to look for that will alert you to their authenticity.

The social media gift exchange is a new one on me, but it seems to operate in much the same way a pyramid scheme operates, so stay away.

Grandparent scams--and this is so awful--target seniors. Folks posing as grandchildren or other family members will make contact and tell tall tales about accidents or other incidents that would require money and then they ask for it.

Temporary holiday job opportunities are commonplace this time of year, but do the necessary legwork to make sure the job is on the up-and-up.

The Better Business Bureau also tells us that phishing emails and pop-up ads frequently appear during the holiday season and may present the unsuspecting consumer with an offer for gift cards they don't think they can refuse.

Harmless-seeming e-cards (electronic Christmas cards) sometimes are not as harmless as they seem.

Fake shipping notifications, phony charities, letters from Santa (seriously, how low can you go), unusual forms of payment, travel scams, and puppy scams (there may not be a puppy in the picture at all) fill out the list of the "12 Scams of Christmas."

We just have to be more careful than we used to be. Nothing wrong with that, but we have to remember the times in which we live.

Merry Christmas!

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