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RALEIGH, NC (December 1, 2021) – Collecting sports memorabilia has been an American pastime for nearly a century. Fans are looking for memorabilia such as jerseys, teams, cards, or other items that have direct connections to famous players or historical games. Since many items are now being sold online, it can be more difficult than ever to trust that a seller or product is genuine.
Items “used in games” are highly sought after. Buyers reward items that saw action on the court or field as valuable parts of the sport’s history. Consumers should be aware that there is a significant difference between “used by the game” and “issued by the game”. For example, a game-issued jersey was designed for the player to wear, but may not actually have been worn. There is nothing wrong with selling that type of game issued item, unless the seller scratches it off and tries to pass it off as a used game for a higher price.
Autographs are even more complicated. With the use of autopen, manufacturers can reproduce ink signatures hundreds of times. Again, there is nothing wrong with selling auto-signed items as long as they are not misrepresented as personally signed by the player and are priced accordingly. Buyers should also be on the lookout for online listings that describe items as “hand signed” without specifying who signed them.
Absolute fakes can be the most difficult to spot, and this problem has plagued collectors for decades. If you don’t have time to become an autograph authentication expert, but still want to make purchases, here are some steps you can take.
How the scam works:
As you search for an authentic jersey online that has the original team logo, a site comes up in your search that promises great deals and fast shipping. It can be in the form of a social media ad or a quick web search.
The name of the store does not sound familiar; however, it has great photos and cheap prices, making it so credible that an order is placed. The credit card is debited from the account at check out and an email confirmation is sent. Everything seems normal, until the weeks go by and the shirt never arrives. The anticipation of having a memory of a favorite team suddenly fades with the realization that neither the company nor the website exists when trying to connect with someone from customer service.
How to avoid sporting goods scams:
- Beware of offers that seem too good to be true. If the price of an item, collectible or not, is significantly lower than on the sites of other well-known retailers, this is a red flag that it could be a scam.
- Research the company before you buy. If you are unfamiliar with the company, check out BBB.org to see if it has a BBB or BBB Scam Tracker business profile to see if anyone else has reported them as a scam. Look for contact information on the website, such as a phone number or physical address, as well as a strong social media presence to help determine if the business actually exists.
- Never transfer money or use a prepaid debit card as a form of payment. Scammers often request both types of payment, and once the money runs out, there is no way to get it back. Instead, shop online with a credit card and only on secure websites (https).
- Double-check COAs – Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) are the norm for souvenir purchases, especially for expensive items, so scammers are likely trying to provide fake ones. A valid COA must indicate the qualifications and full contact information of the issuer. Before relying on a COA, make sure it contains complete and correct details about who issued it, and then make sure it is a legitimate and reputable authority.
- Be especially careful at charity auctions – some scammers target charities by providing “donations” of fake souvenirs. When considering a bid on an item at a charity auction, be more vigilant and watch out for suspicious price assessments and suspicious authentications. When in doubt about an item, consider making a pure donation to charity rather than an auction.
- Look for a money-back guarantee – If possible, work with a dealer who can guarantee a full refund of your purchase if you ever find out it’s a fraud. Please review all the terms and conditions of the sale, especially the limitations, before purchasing the item.
For more tips on how to avoid this scam contact Luis Feliz at 919-277-4228 or firstname.lastname@example.org