Consumer Alert: Retail sales shot up despite persistent inflation

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Retail sales numbers are out today, and they’re incredible. It’s a head-scratcher, this economy is a cornucopia of contradictions. Retail sales fell by 1.1 percent in December. So economists were expecting a modest gain in January of 1.8 percent.

Instead, sales shot up three percent, almost twice the number economists predicted. We’re shopping like crazy, granted there were great post-Christmas sales. In the face of persistent inflation and low consumer confidence, no one expected numbers like this. Instead, it seems we’re all participating in a bit of retail therapy.

While it’s a sign of a healthy economy, these numbers make another rate hike almost certain. The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning about the baby trend ‘Sit n’ Stand’ double and ultra strollers. A 14-month old died when his head got caught in the space behind the pivoting front canopy. Another child was injured.

The CPSC warns children should be fully secured when you’re using the stroller and parents should remove the canopy when you’re not using it.

Also, a new scam with a weird name is growing. It’s called pig butchering because the scammer fattens you up before slaughter. It starts with a text or social media message that appears to be for someone else. When you answer to tell them wrong number, they mention that they’re helping a friend with investments. Then they make friends with you, and get you to invest. And it looks real, complete with a fake bank website and a site where you can see your investments grow.

They even let you take out a little to gain your confidence. When they’ve milked you for all you have, they go in for the slaughter and shut down the fake bank and steal your money. It’s scary because people have lost their life savings.

In short, if a stranger is offering financial advice by text message, it’s a scam.