‘Tis the season to be Jolly and it also seems to be the season for Spammers and Internet criminals to try their absolute hardest to trick Xmas shoppers. With more people doing their Xmas shopping on the Net than ever before, IT security firm Sophos is urging people to be very careful buying last minute gifts on the Net as spammers and scammers are "working overtime" to trick people during the holiday season.

"Lurking behind that offer for a faux Rolex or Louis Vuitton knockoff may be a more sinister transaction that goes well beyond the usual con," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"In an effort to save time and money by shopping online, frantic consumers may also be inviting criminals onto computers - opening up the possibility of credit card fraud and identity theft."

Sophos have a number of tips for you to follow to avoid joining the ranks of the conned, these include being aware of people selling merchandise via unsolicited email, not being fooled by Xmas e-mails, being alert about the dangers of Phishing scams, and thinking before you click on a URL. These are good tips for all year round, in fact.