When Is The Next Last Chance U Football Season How to Avoid the Sellers of Fake Autographs on eBay

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How to Avoid the Sellers of Fake Autographs on eBay

eBay, the World Online Marketplace®, is undoubtedly a great place to buy signed items, but only if you know what you’re doing, because shopping on eBay without the right knowledge could be a very expensive exercise.

I have been autographing full time for over 20 years, have done over 25,000 transactions on eBay alone, have given talks on eBay, attended eBay University and even broadcast a fake autograph workshop live from eBay HQ in London, but more I can always fool myself into buying worthless junk through the site, so if I can be fooled, think how easy it is to fool a newcomer to the wonderful world of eBay!

Trying to buy anything signed on eBay can be a real nightmare, at best you might get something that’s genuine and only cost you a few quid, but at worst, you could be ripped off for hundreds of £ for something that doesn’t even make it to your threshold! On the other hand, by following a few simple rules, you can consistently find some real gems and collect more than a few bargains.

Over the past 10 years I have learned many things that can help anyone shop safely on eBay, and here I hope to show you a few tricks and rules to help you sort the wheat from the chaff.

Since it is the world’s largest online marketplace, it has become the world’s largest marketplace for counterfeiters and dodgy dealers! Search for signed items any day of the week on eBay and you will find hundreds of counterfeit items among the many good items offered by reputable dealers around the world.

Learning to spot a fake autograph takes years of experience and a trained eye, so here we will concentrate on showing you the things to look for that will allow you to spot a fake seller and not a fake item, because this is a little easier.

Let’s say you’ve been looking for a Frank Sinatra autograph and you finally find what you think is a good one on eBay. Of course, you should do some basic checks on the signature itself, because only through these checks and comparisons will you learn how to spot a real one from a fake one. There have been some articles published about Sinatra’s autograph, so with a few clicks on Google you should be able to find some help. If you are an avid collector, you should have already invested and read some reference books such as Ray Rollins’ books or at least a copy of the Sanders Price Guide. Again Google or Amazon can be useful here, and doing your homework is part of the autograph buying process.

Remember I’m only concentrating on bad sellers here, not bad autographs, but there are articles that can help with autographing, so look them up and read them.

Always check everything you can about the seller through eBay, and there are many ways you can do this. Always read the whole page at least twice, making sure to check all details about sellers etc. Assume he is a fraud and find reasons to believe him, not the other way around.

1/ Check their feedback for the same or similar items. If the item you are looking for is rare (like a Sinatra), have they sold or do they have others? Use Goofbay (Google it) to check what they have sold in the last 90 days because eBay only allows you to check the last 30 days. This alone can sometimes tell you all you need to know.

2/ Do they have many other rare and hard to find signed items? Have they been selling the same ones over and over for the past few weeks? Do these items consistently sell for less than other well-known dealers?

3/ Do they use ‘Private Auctions’ look out for the little bit that says, ‘this is a private listing, your details will not be revealed to anyone’ What does that mean? Well, it really means the seller is hiding something, and despite what they may state in their auctions, it’s not because they’re protecting you from spam or sellers with similar items. Their likely real reason is to prevent you from knowing the truth, because by using private auctions or private bidding, they are trying to prevent you from knowing what they have sold in the previous weeks and prevent other eBay users from alerting you to a possible fake item you are bidding on.

4/ Where are they? On the location site they may say they are “best on eBay” and try to hide their true location from you. Some of these so-called ‘dealers’ run their scams from other countries, Spain, France, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Singapore and Australia, all have counterfeiters who have targeted the UK because they simply cannot be caught by UK police or Trading Standards. Don’t just accept what the location of the item says. If they are registered on eBay as a business seller then they will have their full business address at the bottom of the page. Additionally, click on the seller’s ID at the top right next to their feedback and it will also tell you what county they are located in.

5/ Read their feedback, see what other people say about them. But surely you say here, all these fakes and scams will show up in the feedback, but why should they? The seller sent the goods on time, which the buyer believes to be authentic (otherwise he would not have bought) and so the buyer leaves feedback accordingly. It could be years before the customer learns the truth, and then it’s too late. Feedback should always be checked, but don’t rely on it, it can be fraudulently bid (buying cheap items) and doesn’t always tell the truth about the seller. Use it only as a guide and look deeper to find out the truth. You may be able to find out where the seller is buying from by checking the Seller Feedback tab (click on the number in parentheses next to the seller ID and then the “From Sellers” tab), this will show you the items the seller has purchased on eBay- u and can be very enlightening! This feedback page can tell you more about the seller than they want you to know, so take a good look! I have seen many sellers on ebay who have 100% perfect feedback but have never sold an original signature in their life!

Those 5 pointers should help you paint a much better picture of the seller, but there are more things to look for.

One scam that is sometimes used is for the seller to show you the real thing but send you a fake. I’ve been caught with this more than once, and there’s no real way to be sure that any seller is doing this, but if you check their past sales, you can sometimes spot the same image multiple times.

The really smart ones start re-listing the same items after 30 days, which is why you should use Goofbay to check each seller before bidding, as this allows for a 90 day search.

Some sellers will have multiple accounts, but on an alternating basis. This allows them to sell on one account for say 7 days, then switch to another account and sell similar items for another 7 days and so on. If they get caught on one account, they simply switch to another. You’ll find sellers who do this often offer different items on each account and change location to try and throw you off the scent, but they’ll still make the same spelling mistakes, use the same terms or description etc, so a little detective work can really be done here pay off.

Always remember you won’t be the only person to find that Frank Sinatra signature starting at 99p guaranteed to be genuine! Hundreds of other very experienced collectors and dealers will also be looking for the same item, and if they believe it is genuine, then they will bid too. So if at the final curtain an item is only fetching 50% or less of what you would expect it to go for, then chances are the dealers and collectors have walked away because they didn’t like it.

In my experience, an original item that is listed to start at a low price will usually end up at about 75% or more of what the seller would offer the same item with a fixed price. And if you’ve done your homework, you’ll already have a good idea of ​​how much that Sinatra signature is worth, right?

There was once a seller in Italy who offered 1966 World Cup covers and other soccer autographs every week. He would show the real thing, but then send his fakes. He would also give the underbidders a second chance, thereby selling several of the same fake items at the same time, and would also accept offers from buyers before the item was finished. He would ask to be paid directly through PayPal, but of course they would get a fake one. It was a clever scam, and it still happens, but if all his customers had read this guide, few would have been scammed!

If the seller does not accept PayPal, then I would be very wary of buying from them. PayPal has its pitfalls, but from a buyer’s point of view, it offers you tremendous protection. If the seller wants to use a form of payment other than Paypal or will only accept cash, then just walk away, as this is not only risky, but also violates eBay’s payment rules, and the seller should be reported to eBay. If you get ripped off using this payment method, eBay will not help you.

What about those lovely COAs? Any good dealer will tell you the same, they are not worth the paper they are printed on. Of course, a good retailer will provide one and it should always have their full contact details etc printed on it, but always remember that a COA doesn’t prove anything, except maybe where you bought it. An item is either genuine or it’s not, and no COA, not even one with triple holograms, DNA, matching numbers or fancy ribbon, will ever turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse! And those sellers who suggest that their items can be proven authentic by some third-party authenticator or forensic examiner? Forget it, even one of those used by eBay has been proven to authenticate both printed signatures and autopenses as genuine, and indeed a number have recently lost the ability to even have their COA listed on eBay!

What if the seller is a member of the KSIZ association? Maybe they are, but does that Association really exist? Does it really mean anything or could someone join? I have seen a number of sellers who simply made up the name of the association and in two cases even created a website to go with it. In any case, always check if the Association exists, if the seller is a member and if there are other members! The only associations for any dealer worth being a member of are PADA, AFTAL or UACC (but only as a registered dealer, not just a member).

Always avoid one day auctions, only a fool or scammer uses this! One day auctions are used to try and get a quick kill and are a favorite of eBay ID hijackers, those people who send you those phishing emails! Once they have your ID and password, they hijack your ID and then set up auctions for anything that will sell quickly (they don’t have merchandise, so it could really be anything). They only use one-day auctions because it usually takes eBay at least 24 hours to respond to someone reporting a stolen ID, so they give the scammers a full 24 hours to upload the auctions and make the sale. The money of course goes to the hijacked PayPal account and then to a foreign bank somewhere. Advice! Never use the same password for your eBay account as for your PayPal account.

If you meet a few good dealers, you can build a relationship with them and be able to ask them for advice on other items. I talk to other dealers on a daily basis and this allows us to learn from each other and pass on valuable information. I and almost every other dealer I know are always happy to help with any aspect of autograph collecting to meet a few real live dealers, not just those ‘virtual’ eBay dealers, and you might be surprised what you might learn!

There are many other things to be careful of when buying autographs on eBay, I have covered the important things here, but you still need to be careful, so keep your eyes open, check every detail, and if it seems too good to be true, well, it probably is!

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