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Holiday shoppers beware: 1 in 5 will fall for counterfeits online, study says

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — There’s more fake stuff out there than many suspect, and that means more people are buying shoddy, counterfeit goods this holiday season. Maybe even you.

Data keep rolling in calling this holiday online shopping season the busiest ever. According to Experian Marketing Services, more than 65% of U.S. retail marketing professionals say this year’s online holiday sales should be “higher or much higher” than in 2011.

Experian says 2011 was the first year that Cyber Monday – the shopping “holiday” most associated with online shopping – passed Black Friday as the highest-volume online shopping day all year.

According to MarkMonitor, the San Francisco-based global consumer brand protection firm, one in five online shopping “bargain hunters” in the U.S. and Europe will be victimized by counterfeit or otherwise fraudulent purchases this holiday season.

Most of those shoppers, MarkMonitor says in its Nov. 19 MarkMonitor Shopping report, wind up shopping on counterfeit retail sites without even knowing. The firm says that the haste and zeal associated with getting a bargain gets in the way of otherwise careful shoppers.

MarkMonitor examined 5 million shopping sessions in six countries over a recent nine-month period and found a logical but disturbing fact: the counterfeit retail sites had a higher “conversion rate” than legitimate sites, meaning they are better at convincing shoppers to put items in their shopping carts.

“These findings really challenge the common assumption that consumers who purchase counterfeit goods are distinctly different than those consumers buying genuine goods,” says Eric Solomon, senior vice president for global digital audience measurement at Nielsen, which assisted with the study. “With Cyber Monday right around the corner, consumers across all segments must be vigilant when shopping online.”

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