With values surging in sports collectibles, the hobby has attracted fraudsters who are too lazy to work for a living and instead try to scam others out of their possessions. Don't become a victim to these low-life's.
Here are a list of some scams to avoid:
1. Buying altered cards that are not deemed "altered" and are marketed as originals in their natural form. If you buy cards professionally graded by Beckett, PSA, or SGC, your investment will be protected because the cards will be evaluated for trimming, coloring, and other card doctoring methods. Authentic cards that are altered are still worth something but not near as much as a card in it's pure form. If you see a ungraded key rookie card that looks like it is in near mint condition, look out! You will want to assume it is altered and pay a price that is competitive for a high-end altered card.
2. Buying a reprint that is being marketed as an original. There are some really good fakes out there so again, you will want to buy cards that are professionally graded by a reputable grading company such as PSA, SGC, or Beckett. Don't be fooled by a card that looks naturally aged. Many times, it has been baked in the oven and coffee has been sprinkled around the border to give it a vintage look. Also, many people trying to cash in on reprints will say something along the lines of "bought at an estate sale, not sure if it is real or not" or "this is my deceased father's card and he had it since he was a boy."
3. Buying unauthenticated autographs in auctions. I see this all the time with Michael Jordan and Lebron James' autograph. If it is not authenticated by reputable authenticator, stay away.
Here is a list of some of the most trusted autograph authenticators in the hobby:
- Beckett Authentication Services
- MLB Authentication
- JSA (James Spence Authentication)
- TriStar Productions
- Mounted Memories
- Steiner Sports
- Upper Deck Authenticated/UDA
- Panini Authentic
- TriStar Productions
- Numerous professional athletes have their own holograms for authentication purposes such as Nolan Ryan (Nolan Ryan Authentication) and Ted Williams (Green Diamond). These player company forms of authentication are typically accompanied with another authentication company such as PSA/DNA or MLB Authentic.