SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We are just a week before the traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season. Experts have a warning for you about searching for a real deal.

University of Scranton student, Benjamin Linton is hitting the stores nearly five weeks before Christmas.

“I’m just here, spending my parents’ money, hanging out,” joked Linton.

Brick-and-mortar stores are not the only places the Hillsdale, New Jersey man likes to shop.

When asked if he ever shops online, Linton replied, “A lot. Yep, tons.”

The key is to not get fooled and end up buying counterfeit products which cost the global economy more than $500 billion a year.

“We always say if a business can make it, the counterfeiters can fake it. So, whether it’s apparel or consumer electronics, luxury goods if you’re splurging for a gift for the holiday,” said Patrick Kilbride, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with businesses and law enforcement for a campaign called Shop Smart. It encourages you to trust your instincts when shopping from a website you really don’t know.

“There are some that seem too good to be true almost, right? Yeah, I try not to click on those. They seem a little hesitant, a little suspicious,” Linton added.

“You know if you’re shopping online and the site doesn’t look as professional as you would expect it to be from the brand that you’re shopping with,” described Kilbride.

Kilbride says it’s more than having a keen eye to prevent purchasing a counterfeit product but also what you are using to make that purchase. Stick to credit cards or debit cards and avoid digital wallets.

“We’re not providing banking information. It should be a big red flag for the consumer if the site is asking for additional information,” stated Kilbride.

Shopper Melissa Dunlap of Hancock, New York, happens to work in cybersecurity and encourages other shoppers to live by her motto when looking for deals.

“Just be vigilant. I mean, don’t trust anybody. That’s the biggest thing is you just need to pay attention to things that are out there,” explained Dunlap.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says when shopping online, make sure the website begins with the letters ‘HTTPS,’ and the ‘S’ stands for security.

For tips on how to shop smart, visit the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s website.