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Feds Bust Fraudulent Websites as Cyber Monday Sales Skyrocket

Early estimates project today as the biggest sales day for online retailers ever.

Cyber Monday sales are expected to break all records today, but not all of the deals out there are legit.

Federal authorities shut down 132 domain names Monday that were selling counterfeit products, such as DVDs, jewelry and sports jerseys, according to State House News Service in Boston. The investigation, headed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit, spanned six countries.

The sites had collected more than $175,000 in payments through PayPal before they were busted, according to the State House News Service report. Anyone visiting the sites now will get a banner notifying them of the shut down.

Online sales could top $1.5 billion, according to Market Watch. That's up 20 percent from the $1.25 billion in sales recorded in 2011.

The National Retail Federation estimated 123 million Americans would shop online Monday. CNET has a nifty graphic showing the most popular online retailers, like Amazon, eBay, Zappos, Shopify and Shopzilla.

While most shoppers will surf to the heavy-hitters of online retail, some may find their way to deals on questionable websites.

At least two of the fraudulent sites involved were California-based, according to the CBS affiliate in Los Angeles. ICE shut down www.autoforms8m.com, which reportedly sold counterfeit Adobe software, and www.23isking.com, a Nike shoe knock-off retailer.

Holiday shopping overall is more robust than 2011, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. Through the first 23 days of November, sales are up 16 percent over 2011.

About 247 million Americans hit brick-and-mortar store sales and shopped online during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.

What online sales are you taking advantage of today? Tell us in comments!

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