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Despite pandemic, holiday sales are strong

Cyber Monday is expected to top more than $12 billion in spending.

INDIANAPOLIS — The shopping rush Friday saw a mix of in-store and online shopping which brought in $9 billion in sales, up 22 percent compared to last year, according to Adobe analytics.

Cyber Monday is expected to top that with more than $12 billion in spending.

As shoppers hunt for deals, there's a warning from the government.

"If the price is too good to be true, it probably is," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Erik Rosenblatt.

The government is alerting consumers of scams from bogus retailers to counterfeit goods.

"It is estimated that three quarters of a million jobs are lost every year due to the sales of counterfeit goods that are manufactured overseas," said Sal Ingrassia, Acting Port Director for Customs and Border Protection. "In addition, many counterfeit goods compose health and safety risks that may help fund criminal activity."

Fake items can include what appears to be designer handbags, watches, clothing, home goods, technology and even medicines.

"Do your homework, educate yourself on the exact logo, hardware, and stitching of whatever you are considering," Rosenblatt said. "It also helps to visit an actual store to examine the real products up close." 

When it comes to shopping online, make sure the website is secure.

That includes making sure there's an "s" after the "http" in the web address and that there's a padlock icon next to it.

Second: Read the fine print. Sometimes the sale is only for a very specific style or color.

Check the return policy, too. Some items could be final sale.

That's another reason to research the retailer. If you've never heard of them, it could be because they're fake.

That's also a good reason to make sure your credit card has zero-liability when it comes scams and to use virtual credit card numbers available through many credit card companies.

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