Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a popular gift to give and receive, and it’s an easy way for a Grinch to get your hard-earned money. We’re Stretching Your Dollar with what you need to look out for to avoid gift card scams this holiday season.

‘Tis the season for making a list and checking it twice — and for the tough to shop for people, there’s always gift cards. They’re easy and one of the top gifts people want to receive this year.

While it’s an easy buy, you need to be careful to ensure your money is protected.

“We Live Security” with these tips to avoid holiday gift card scams.

First, only buy from retailers that store gift cards in locked cases. If you buy online, purchase directly from the retailer, rather than discount stores.

Only buy gift cards that feature pins. Never buy a gift card that appears to be tampered with, so pay close attention as you bring it to the cashier.

It’s a top gift to give and receive. Remember, if you get a gift card, use it as quickly as possible to cut your chance of falling victim to a Grinch.

There’s no added protection. Once money is spent on those cards, it’s gone.

The best deals usually come from big retailers this time of year. Often in the form of something called a GoGo – give one, get one – where you can get bonus cards this time of year when you buy a gift card.