As the year's biggest shopping day approaches, the Copyright Alliance, which fights piracy of tangible and intangible goods, wants holiday shoppers to be on the lookout for bogus products that could mean some Black Friday blues for legitimate sellers.
So, if that shrink-wrapped box containing those coveted VR glasses says "Occulas Raft" in blurry print, look elsewhere.
Here are some words of advice, and warning, from the alliance:
1. "Don’t buy unused goods at flea markets. Chances are they are selling illegal copies and knock-offs.
2. "If a product price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful about extreme bargains on software, movies, music, etc.
3. "Only purchase products from secure online sites, to protect your credit card information and identity.
4. "When reviewing product packaging, simple things like spelling errors, blurry text and images or poor print quality can help you identify illegal products.
5. "The best way to avoid inadvertently buying an illegal product is to purchase it from a reputable brick-and-mortar or online retail store or directly from the copyright owner’s website.
6. "When in doubt about whether a product is legitimate, do further research before making your purchase."
The alliance also cited some sites where shoppers can bone up on what to watch for, including resources posted by two local TV stations, Fox's WTTG Washington and Hubbard's KOB-TV Albuquerque.
The projected value of global trade in pirated goods was $1.77 trillion dollars as of 2015, according to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition.
The coalition added its own take on the "consider the source" admonition. "Ask yourself if you would normally expect to find the product sold in this type of environment," it advised. If not, walk away. "Deal only with legitimate, established merchants."