By and  on December 21, 2012

Along with the Santa photo ops, piped-in Christmas carols and glittery window displays, the holidays also bring more nefarious traditions — shoplifting and fraudulent returns.

Cyclical as these crimes tend to be, this year stores are seeing an upswing — in part due to the Internet making it easier for crooks to find new ways to steal, to get fake IDs that can later be used for on-the-spot credit cards and to unload the stolen goods online. Security guards, meanwhile, are being extra vigilant about looking out for groups of shoppers who disperse once they enter a store but maintain contact via cell phones. Other culprits have been known to send one group in to case a store and another group to actually steal, according to a Times Square security guard.

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