SPRINGFIELD,Mo. -

Just in time for the biggest retail shopping day of the year, thieves are hard at work spending money that's not theirs.

"We definitely see a rise during the holiday season and it's a good time in their minds that they try to take advantage of the fact that people are in a giving spirit," says Judy Mills, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Southwest Missouri.

People tend to make more purchases around this time of year and let their guard down, so they monitor card activity less often. It's the perfect environment for thieves to do serious damage.

"If you're shopping in the stores, I would recommend not letting your card our of your sight," said  Mills.

"There is a new method called skimming. People can run your card through the company's credit card reader, and then through a backup machine that allows them to get all of your electronic information then sell it to someone who can make up a fake debit card," Mills explained.

Another high tech scheme lets people steal your information just by being in close proximity to your card.

"There are gadgets that allow someone to sit about 20 feet away and pull your credit card information out of your wallet while it's in your pocket. I recommend getting an RIFD card protector from your bank to prevent this," said Mills.

So if you're going to be hitting the stores this holiday weekend experts say there are steps you can take to make sure your information does not land in the hands of thieves.

"Go online and be sure that the transactions you made yesterday are all that's on there. Double check that everyday if necessary during this time of year," says Mills.

Even if you aren't physically going into the stores to do your shopping specialists say a large amount of credit and debit card fraud happens online. They say look for websites that being with "H-T-T-P-S" which indicates it's a secure site.