Ever get an e-mail promising a deal that sounds to good to be true? Say you've been hunting for a certain Wii game for weeks, and suddenly you get a message that it's available on Amazon or another site for half what you'd expected.

The e-mail states that quantities are limited, and urges you to hurry, so you whip out your credit card and click away, sparks flying from your fingertips as you enter your order.

Congratulations! You've been scammed!

That e-mail link took you to a lookalike site operated by a hacker. He didn't even have to work to get your credit card information -- you handed it to him on a silver platter. By the time you realized your shipment's not coming, it's already too late.

The solution is simple: Only buy from trusted websites and don't ever click on e-mail offers unless you can verify they came from respected e-tailers ...

package delivery mail

No. 1: Don't let packages sit on doorstep

Even if you make sure you shop securely and protect your personal information, you can lose your holiday cheer in a hurry if your packages disappear from your doorstep before you get home.

This time of year, enterprising miscreants drive through neighborhoods, often in fake service trucks or vans, looking for packages left at doors.

One trip to the door with a bulky toolbox and your shipment is gone. If there's a date range on your shipment rather than a specific day, you may not even be aware your goods are missing until well after they're gone and resold.

If you have a neighbor who's home during the day (and doesn't mind helping), have your packages delivered there. If you have an understanding boss, have your stuff dropped at work. Whatever you do, make sure you don't gift-wrap your holiday packages for passing thieves.

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