You've worked hard all year and would like to spend your money on the things many of us spend money on at holiday time, like gifts, food, travel, decorations, etc. There's also another group that works hard all year long, but what they'd like to do is scam your money to add to their own.

Thankfully, we've got places like the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and their director Dennis Horton to look out for us and spread the word about scams that could victimize you or those you care about.

Although there are more than 12 scams working their way through our local area, we're going to take a look at the Rockford BBB's Top 12 Scams of Christmas 2023.

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Getty Images

It's Not Just Those Who Are Doing Their Holiday Shopping That Are Getting Scammed, It's Also The Really Good People Out There Who Make Charitable Donations During The Holiday Season

Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB):

Always exercise caution with social media ads promoting discounted items, holiday events, and donation requests, as well as direct messages from strangers. If you are asked to make a payment or donation by wire transfer, through a third party, or by prepaid debit or gift card, treat it as a red flag.

Let's get to the scams and tricks to be on guard for this year.

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Getty Images

Social Media, Holiday Apps, Fake Texts, Free Gift Cards, Along With Fake Holiday Jobs, Fake Charities, And Lookalike Websites All Make The List Of Scams To Be Aware Of This Holiday Season

Here are the 12 scams the Rockford BBB is warning of, along with a short description:

Misleading Social Media Ads: You often see products advertised on your social media feed. Always research before you buy. BBB Scam Tracker receives daily reports of people paying for items they never receive, getting charged monthly for a free trial they never signed up for, or receiving an item that is counterfeit or much different from the one advertised.

Social Media Gift Exchanges: The older version was called "Secret Sister." A newer version of this scam revolves around exchanging bottles of wine; another suggests purchasing $10 gifts online. Another twist asks you to submit your email to a list where participants get to pick a name and send money to strangers to "pay it forward."

Holiday Apps:  Be wary of free apps, as they sometimes contain more advertising
than apps that require a nominal fee. Free apps can also contain malware. Be sure to read reviews as well.

Fake Texts That Say You've Been Hacked: Victims are told there has been suspicious activity on one of their accounts, and it further urges them to take immediate action to prevent the account from being compromised. Be extra cautious about unsolicited calls, emails, and texts; contact the business directly, and don't click on any links.

Free Gift Cards: Scammers have been known to take advantage of this weakness by sending bulk phishing emails requesting personal information to receive free gift cards. In some of these emails, scammers impersonate legitimate companies and promise gift cards to reward their loyal customers.

Temporary Holiday Jobs: Job seekers need to be wary of employment scams aimed at stealing money and personal information from job applicants. Keep an eye out for opportunities that seem too good to be true.

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Getty Images

Look-Alike Websites: Be wary of emails with links enclosed. Some may lead to look-alike websites created by scammers to trick people into downloading malware, making dead-end purchases, and sharing private information.

Fake Charities:  Donors are advised to look out for fraudulent charities and scammers pretending to be needy individuals. Avoid impromptu donation decisions to unfamiliar organizations. Responsible organizations will welcome a gift tomorrow as much as they do today.

Fake Shipping Notifications: Scammers are using this new surge to send phishing emails with links enclosed that may allow unwanted access to your private information or download malware onto your device. They may also try to trick people into paying new shipping fees.

Advent Calendars:  Don’t fall for deals that are too good to be true. If an ad promises
an intricate advent calendar containing valuable gifts for an extremely low price, it probably is too good to be true.

Holiday Wish List Items:  Low-priced luxury goods, jewelry, designer clothing, and
electronics are almost always cheap counterfeits and knockoffs. The same applies to popular toys.

Puppy Scams:  Many would-be pet owners turn to the internet to find their future cat or dog, but experts say a shocking 80% of sponsored pet advertisements may be fake. Be sure to see the pet in person before making a purchase.

LOOK: Holiday gift crazes and fads of the past century

Stacker compiled a list of toy crazes from the past 100 years. 

Gallery Credit: Jennnifer Billock

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