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Black Friday continues to change; what you need to know ahead of Cyber Monday

The last few years, big box stores have closed on Thanksgiving. Online shopping has also kept more shoppers at home on Black Friday.

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — A whopping 166 million shoppers are expected to make a purchase before the busy Thanksgiving weekend is over.

Because of inflation, people are looking for discounts perhaps more than ever, so retailers have to balance wanting to make those sales but also get the highest price they can.

Black Friday shopping is in full swing at the Galleria Mall, where it was a steady stream of people but shoppers say Black Friday is not the same as it used to be.

Ten years ago, Black Friday crowds took over stores before online shopping exploded. 

This year, it was a much different scene at the Walden Galleria.

"(Stores are) doing sales at the beginning of the month, each week, each day, something different. You're not getting up at 5 a.m. to beat the people at the store," said Jamie Luna of Bradford, Pa. "I (miss and) love the rush. The adrenaline? Oh, I love it."

In recent years, big box stores have stayed close on Thanksgiving. 

"I feel like since that started, the deals are different. The sales aren't as good, and not as many people. I don't think it's as busy," Stephanie McCaslin of Buffalo said. 

One thing that has helped is the return of Canadian shoppers. 

"The fact we have some Canadians coming back this year, we're having good sales," said Antoinette Elkady, manager of Perfume Stop. "Out of every 10 customers, we have two or three who are Canadian."

That's shopping in-store.

If you're planning to shop online, cybersecurity experts say inflation is causing more and more people to let their guard down and fall victim to scams. 

"It's very sad, but unfortunately that's the exact case we're in right now. Budgets are strapped really for everybody, and so people want to maximize the holidays for their loved ones by making and stretching that dollar that they have," Victor Wieczorek of GuidePoint Security said.

Wieczorek says when comparing deals across websites, read reviews and check known scammer lists. Those are on the Federal Trade Commission, FBI and BBB's websites. 

And when shopping online, only use a credit card that can flag suspicious charges. Don't rush to get a deal that sounds too good to be true or you might get fooled. 

"Getting that quick hit, that discount, that cheap, that free, that too good to be true offer sometimes is just too tempting for most people," Wieczorek said.

There's still plenty of time to go Black Friday shopping. 

The Walden Galleria closes at 9 p.m. on Friday.

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