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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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 ...