Americans are expected to spend nearly $700-billion this holiday season but it’s also the most wonderful time of the year for scammers.

We are stretching your dollar with a look at how to avoid the scams and keep your identity safe and secure.

Tis the season of shopping and identity theft. With shoppers setting spending records this holiday season, scammers are also out on full force trying to steal your holiday cheer.

Because of the threat, the better business bureau has released a list of scams and how to avoid them.

Number one is to fake shipping notifications. You might get an email saying a package is on the way. But the BBB of Connecticut’s Luke Frey says check before you click.

The link may send you to a site that will install malware on your computer and gives scammers your personal data.

“Always junk it, spam it and you can actually usually track your orders on the site you ordered from. So you can track packages on their site and it’s a little bit safer than links e-mailed to you,” said Frey. 

Scam number two is e-cards. These are holiday greetings sent via email instead of the post office. The BBB warns if you don’t recognize the sender, don’t click on the e-card.

Scam number three is gift cards. Experts say check to see whether the wrapping has been tampered with.

Scammers visit stores and copy the numbers and pins on the back of cards. Once the cards are purchased, they then use the balance online.

Also, beware of the opportunity to win a free gift card by taking a short survey.

“It will say take a short survey, and then you answer a couple of questions, it keeps getting longer to page two…to page 10,” said Frey.

Never give out your personal information.

Scam number four is bogus charities. Make sure your generous gifts go to legitimate groups.

And scam number five, the social media gift exchange. These exchanges insist that if you buy one gift for a stranger you’ll receive several others in return. 

The BBB says not only is this a bad idea, it’s also illegal.