Sports Memorabilia Fraud On The Rise Again

Sports Memorabilia Fraud On The Rise Again

Fake autographs on eBay are more prevalent today than during the​ FBI Operation Bullpen sting a​ few years ago. it​ seems that this new generation of​ fraudulent sellers have forgotten how many people the​ FBI put in​ jail during their investigation.

The industry’s leading autograph authenticator, PSA-DNA, claims that only 33 percent of​ more than 10,000 Tiger Woods and​ Michael Jordan autographs it​ scrutinized were real. That means more than 6,600 of​ the​ 10,000 signatures PSA-DNA sampled were forgeries.

eBay is​ a​ prime place to​ sell fake autographs because most bidders are new to​ the​ market and​ don't know how to​ spot a​ real autograph. Some bogus dealers trick customers by providing a​ Certificate of​ Authenticity from their own unknown company. They even create their own holograms complete with serial numbers in​ an​ effort to​ appear as​ a​ legitimate seller.

These sellers often have very good feedback on eBay because they ship the​ items out fast and​ provide good service to​ take the​ focus off the​ fraudulent autographs they are selling. Remember, most of​ the​ criminals who were prosecuted by the​ FBI had tons of​ positive feedback on eBay before they were arrested.

Great feedback does not mean that the​ seller is​ offering real autographs. it​ just means that the​ buyers don't realize the​ items are fake when they get them. if​ you can't tell that an​ autograph is​ fake based on the​ listing, you won't be able to​ tell when you actually get the​ product in​ your hands.

The solution is​ to​ buy from well-known companies who have a​ reputation for​ contracting direct with athletes. Big name companies who contract with athletes can tell you when the​ item was signed. Companies like Upper Deck, Steiner Sports, Mounted Memories, and​ others have strong reputations when it​ comes to​ authentic autographs.

When a​ well-known company has a​ strong reputation for​ dealing in​ authentic autographs, they will go to​ great lengths to​ ensure authenticity.

On the​ other hand, when you see an​ unknown seller offering signed Michael Jordan jerseys without Upper Deck Authentication, you have to​ question the​ authenticity of​ that item. Jordan has an​ exclusive contract with Upper Deck and​ he doesn't sign for​ anyone else.

Furthermore, if​ this seller is​ offering their own certificate (i.e. Bob's Sports Shack) with their own unknown hologram, the​ alert signals should be going off.

The fictional company above (Bob's Sports Shack) would not have access to​ Jordan and​ would not be able to​ get Jordan's autograph without going through Upper Deck.

Not all scenarios are as​ cut and​ dry as​ this one, but most of​ the​ time, if​ you put several elements together and​ look at​ the​ seller's other items, you can determine whether or​ not the​ seller is​ offering authentic autographs.

Athletes charge for​ their autograph. a​ legitimate dealer has to​ pay an​ athlete a​ good sum of​ money to​ sign things for​ them. Usually dealers who contract with athletes in​ this way will be able to​ tell you where and​ when the​ items were signed because it​ is​ in​ their best interest to​ document the​ signing.

So if​ you see a​ seller on eBay that has 500 items for​ sale from every imaginable athlete and​ celebrity, that is​ a​ warning sign. I have seen sellers who have multiple quantities of​ everyone from Joe Montana, to​ Britney Spears, John Lennon, and​ other autographs that are very tough to​ get. Usually all of​ the​ certificates are from the​ same unknown company which is​ another hint that the​ autographs are fake.

Study the​ seller and​ their other items closely before purchasing. This will save you a​ lot of​ time and​ money and​ you will end up with an​ item that is​ an​ investment instead of​ an​ expensive mistake.

Sports Memorabilia Fraud On The Rise Again

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