Money Talks: Top 5 Holiday Scams

This is the time of year for giving. But the last thing you want to do is to make it a happy holiday for a scam artist. Here are a few of this year's most popular scams.

The first is a twist on "phishing," it's called: "smishing." You get a text message on your phone saying there's something wrong with your account and requesting you call. When you do, the crook on the other end gets your personal information. Solution? Don't call the number you get on your phone, call the phone company and ask them what's up.

Next scam? Fake charities. There are plenty of real charities: don't give money to a fake. Never, ever give anyone a dime|or your personal information|without thoroughly checking them out. Especially if they come to your door, or call you on the phone.

Scam number three? Fake checks. Someone buys something from you online, then sends you a cashier's check for more than the amount of a purchase, asking you to wire the excess. Weeks later you find out the check was counterfeit.

Buying a puppy long-distance? Don't even think of sending money until you've personally seen the animal. It could be sick or nonexistent. Best bet? Check your local animal shelter where you can save some money and an animal's life.

And scam number 5? Counterfeit merchandise. And if you're buying anything expensive, beware of fakes. It's a six billion-dollar business, and a lot of it's happening online. If the price is too good to be true - it probably is.

The holidays are scammer's paradise because it's a time of year when you're the most busy|and the most charitable. So, also make it the time of year when you're the most careful. There are more scams you need to see and I've got them right here at I'm Stacy Johnson.