UNDATED - The holidays are a favorite time of year for many of us, but the Better Business Bureau warns you to be careful to not let scammers put a damper on the festivities.

They report that, as we get closer to the holiday season, scammers will start to target consumers with tried and true financial schemes, so they've created a list of suggestions for keeping yourself out of harm's way as you buy presents or donate to charity.

First, always research a business before making a purchase from it online. Make sure it actually has a physical address and avoid deals that seem too good to be true.

If you're shopping Craigslist or other online bulletin board sites, look for local sellers and conduct business in person. Bring a friend along and only make the buy during daylight hours.

When you're out and about shopping in person, make sure you guard your credit or debit cards. The holidays find a lot of identity thieves looking over shoppers' shoulders to copy card numbers during check-out. Don't forgtet to keep your wallet in a secure pocket.

On a different note, if you're planning to make a charitable donation, make sure you research organizations to make sure they're legitimate. Be wary of door knockers looking for on-the-spot donations.

Finally, keep up with the Better Business Bureau's online ratings to ensure you're spending your money safely during the holiday season.