Baseball Card Scams And Fraud During The Holiday Season

Hi Folks,

   Hello Everyone,

   I hope your Holiday season has been great, thus far! 

   If you've been buying baseball cards and coins for either yourself or that special collector in your life, you know that there are a lot of deals out there, both online and in-person/in-store, but some deals might just be too good to be true! There is always an element of fraud in the market, but during the Holiday season, fraudsters seem to flourish.

   We're going to take a look at some different types of fraud that can occur in the sports cards market, and we'll define a few of the more common deceptive practices that may occur when buying or selling sports cards. Again, these scams are more prevalent during the Holiday season, when there is often an increase in transactions.

   Some of the most common, yet, obvious types of scams have to do with the physical card, itself. For example, with the sophisticated manner in which items can be duplicated, many cards can be made to look genuine, even down to what appears to be "aging" on a card. Counterfeit cards are a widespread type of scam, especially with the more expensive cards on the market. Another type of scam is when a seller will trim the edges of a card to alter it so that it looks as if the card has perfect edges on it, or to remove some markings or damage. 

   Combating counterfeit cards as a buyer can be difficult, so it is often advisable to purchase the more expensive cards that are on the market from a reputable seller. In terms of protecting yourself from sellers who alter cards, you have to do your homework, and by this, I mean that you have to know the true dimensions of a card (exact size), as well as know how to tell if a magic marker or a Sharpie was used to cover up some chipping along the edges or corners of a card. 

   One of the more devious scams is fake autographs that are passed off to the buyer as authentic. A good rule of thumb is to know what the autograph looks like and compare it to the signed card that you are looking to purchase. As with counterfeit and altered cards, the same rule applies here; try to make purchases of higher-end autographed items from a seller that you have purchased from before and/or a reputable seller with a long-track record and positive reviews for other signed merchandise that they have sold. Another layer of security on top of this is to ask for certificates of authentication, to prove that the signature was witnessed by a respected authority in the hobby, such as JSA, among others.

   One additional way to protect yourself from these types of fraud that we've been discussing is to purchase cards that have been professionally graded by one of the more popular grading companies, such as PSA or Beckett Grading. Once the card is graded (and if there is an autograph, once they authenticate it), the card will be put in a "slab", which is a heavy plastic protective and display holder, along with the grades that the card received, and along with a bar code or a serial number. You can check the serial number online with the specific grading company, which will allow you to verify that the slabbed item is truly from the grading company.

   Along with these physical types of scams, there are some others that you may come across online.

   As you search around online, there are sites out there that exist solely to steal your payment information. For example, you might receive unsolicited e-mails that are telling you about a great card that became available at an amazing price. However, when you click the link and go to check out, you are giving your information and payment details to a fraudster. This is a form of what is called "Phishing". How can you protect against this? Again, always know the seller from whom you are purchasing, never click any e-mail links from someone who you do not know and be careful with obscure websites that you may come across when searching online.

   One last thing to watch out for is when you are making a payment. It may be obvious to some, but always remember; never send cash through the mail, and be wary of sellers asking you to pay via wire transfers and other "non-traceable" forms of payment. When you are making a payment, the payment page should always be secure and should have an "https" (the secure form of "http") in the website address on the browser web address line. This will ensure that you are entering your payment details on a page that is encrypted for your protection.

   The Holiday season is an incredible time of year, but along with the holiday parties and the holiday shopping, you truly have to stay informed and do your research! Find and use only reputable sellers, and watch out for deals that seem too good to be true. If a deal looks too good to be true, then there is a very good chance that it just might be too good to be true! 

   I hope this has been helpful! 

   Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and get out there and buy some great cards!

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Many thanks and Regards,

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The Sports Card Hobby Just Keeps On Rolling!

Hi Friends,

   I hope this weekend finds you doing well!

   A typical weekend for me always involves some kind of baseball card purchase, mixed in with everything else that's thrown at me, and this weekend has been no different!

   I have noticed that everything is getting more crowded by the day, and our great hobby is no exception! 

   During the pandemic, there was a huge boom in the sports card market, not just limited to baseball cards, rather, all sports cards. 

   This certainly made a lot of sense, because people were home, and looking for things to occupy their time. Additionally, there was a lot of extra money that was thrown into the hobby from the stimulus checks that some people had received, and as always, people with extra money will certainly find ways to spend that money!

   However, now that the pandemic is "over", that market boom is certainly continuing, with no signs of slowing down.

   Recently, I went to the National Card Show in Long Island, and in all my years of attending this show, I have never seen it more crowded than it was. The line to get in was out the door, and once inside, there was barely room to move.

   Keep in mind that there were some top names signing autographs at the show, but there were always top names signing at these shows. In speaking with some of the vendors that I know at the show, they said they could not keep up with the people at their tables. They said that they had a rough time juggling between people asking questions about their cards, people forking over cash to pay for cards, and, of course, keeping an eye on the rest of their tables to make sure some of their cards didn't get up and "walk away".

   One vendor who I purchase unopened boxes from told me that he regretted not bringing someone with him to help out after he saw how chaotic and crowded it was on that Saturday, because on Sunday, it was just as crowded and maybe even more than the day before.

   It's not just in one location or part of the country.

   A recent article titled, "Three years after pandemic boom, trading card industry still going strong", John Russo talks about a collector who got his start in the hobby during the pandemic, and attributes the influx of new collectors in the hobby as follows; "...when the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, many old hobbies experienced a renaissance, including...." sports cards and trading cards.


   The continued interest in the hobby can be attributed to a couple of factors.

   The first is obvious, which is that new collectors that came into the hobby during the pandemic have stayed. They have caught "the bug", as I call it, or the desire to keep adding to their collection. 

   As Russo said in his article; collectors are now "fully immersed in the hobby", which sums it up! 

   There is something for everyone in card collecting, whether it is unopened packs and boxes, rookie cards, serial numbered cards, short prints, refractors, sets, autographs...there is more than enough to keep everyone hooked and having fun!

   On that notion of "fun", there is also something behind that, which is that collecting cards, as a hobby, is therapeutic, and is great for mental well-being. It helps you focus on something positive (an "escape"), brings you a little more excitement, something to work towards, and helps you be a part of something greater than be part of a community of others just like you, who love collecting cards!

   After all, what’s more exciting than opening a pack of cards and seeing that gorgeous Mojo Refractor "1st Bowman" Rookie card staring right at you! It is a feeling of excitement that only a true collector can appreciate, and the fact that more and more people are experiencing that great feeling is definitely a good thing!

Thank you for joining me today!


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Baseball Card Scams And Fraud During The Holiday Season

Hi Folks,    Hello Everyone,    I hope your Holiday season has been great, thus far!     If you've been buying baseball cards and coins ...