Tips to not get ripped off when it comes to autographed memorabilia.

There is absolutely nothing illegal or wrong about Autopen signatures — unless the recipient is misled into believing they’re genuinely signed by the player. Autographed items that actually have forged signatures, sometimes manually signed but also items signed using an “Autopen,” which is a machine that is capable of copying and reproducing genuine signatures.  Older collectibles may  have been signed using a rubber stamp but these are usually easily detectable.

In other instances, scammers simply produce high-quality photocopies of an original signed photo. According to the fan-site SportsMemorabilia.com these copies which are referred to in the trade as “preprints” or “reprints,” used to be easy to spot but are becoming much more difficult because of sophisticated, high-quality printing techniques.

7 Ways to Avoid Being Scammed

Many of the scams are made much easier by the fact that more and more collectors are buying items online, without seeing them in person. Below, are 7 things you can do to avoid being scammed.

1. Never send funds using a cash transfer. Once you realize it is the real deal, use a credit card. There is also the option of Paypal but you may not have the same dispute rights that you get with a credit card.

2. If you’re a seller and receive a Paypal notification that money has been received in your account, check the account by typing in the address in your browser rather than clicking on a link that is sent to you.

3. When purchasing items on sites such as eBay, always be sure to check the seller’s feedback. SportsMemorabilia.com recommends giving a wide berth to anyone with less than 98% positive feedback or with strongly worded, negative comments.

4. If an item is being sold with a Certificate of Authenticity, research the name and reputation of the COA issuer.

5. When purchasing an expensive item, ask the seller to provide you with an invoice describing the condition of the item in great detail. Be sure to ask specific questions about things such as the wear on a sole, fraying, damage and other well-known defects for the particular item you’re interested in.

6. Look for obvious signs that the item is not genuine, including a color difference from the original (details of these are often available online), wrong materials such as a letter written on a type of paper that didn’t exist when it was supposed to have been produced, and signatures that appear to be “flat” and part of the image.

7. Always do a search on the item you are planning to buy to get an idea if other people have been scammed when buying it, or if there seems to be a larger number of the item available for sale than you might expect.

If you can’t verify the reliability and reputation of a seller, or you can’t inspect the item first, you probably shouldn’t buy. Always be careful when purchasing any item.

About The Equalizer

The Equalizer Group is not a part of or represent itself as a “law-firm”. Nor are we some type of “collection agency”. We are a victim advocacy organization. When a victim comes to us and tells us about their case we spend quite a bit of time investigating and looking into the merits of the matter. We then look into the backgrounds and names of the people who are reported to us or the company they own or represent. By the time we contact the offending party, we have already determined that what they did and how they did it was unjust.