MONTREAL - Police are reminding holiday shoppers to be vigilant when breaking out their plastic as the gift-buying season gets in to full swing.

The warning comes after a rise in credit card fraud busts in the area in the past month.

Six raids were conducted in Cote St. Luc and Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie in November leading to the three arrests, part of the Projet Facette investigation.

Police say they seized tools for forging credit cards, ATM cloning devices and miniature cameras used to spot PIN numbers as users punched them in.

Police also dismantled a debit card cloning lab in October.

Shoppers should use basic caution when paying for items with credit and debit cards, said Montreal police Cmdr. Mario Lamothe.

"When you punch your PIN number on the keyboard, place your loose hand on top of the other just to avoid a camera taking your PIN," he said.

Shopper Lydia Desmarais said she was a victim of debit card fraud once and is cautious about her PIN number.

"You have to change it; that's how it works. Change it every once in a while and you'll be okay," said Desmarais.

Stores can also guard against fraud with simple tips, said Lush Cosmetics salesperson Bradley Campbell.

"We've been keeping our debit machines underneath the till, just so that they're they out of reach," he said. "We also mark them with Lush stickers so that we know they're ours -- so if they're switched and we don't see those Lush stickers, that's a warning sign."