BBB warning of sports memorabilia scams


For Greene County News

GREENE COUNTY – Sports memorabilia is a $12 billion dollar business. An estimated $500 million is lost annually to sports memorabilia fraud. Your Better Business Bureau offers advice when you’re looking to purchase your favorite sports memorabilia items.

When it comes to buying sports memorabilia, the Internet offers numerous options. There’s thousands of fraudulent items being sold and purchased daily online. The FBI estimates anywhere between 70 and 90 percent of all sports memorabilia in the marketplace today is bogus.

How can sports memorabilia collectors be sure they’re purchasing legitimate items? Collectors should do business with third-party authentication of sports memorabilia dealers, such as Beckett, PSA/DNA (Professional Sports Authenticator) and JSA (James Spence Authentication). Reputable sports memorabilia dealers should be stressing the importance of top-level grading or certification.

Last year, more than 7,300 inquiries were made to BBBs across the US and Canada about sports memorabilia companies.

When looking for sports memorabilia, your BBB suggests you:

– Do you research. Be sure to check the value and condition before purchasing.

– Get recommendations from friends and family. Be sure the dealer has a long-standing, solid reputation.

– Ask questions, like how the dealer took possession of items and request to see receipts, if possible. If seller can’t or won’t answer simple questions, walk away.

– Make purchases by credit card. If the seller’s fraudulent, you can dispute the charge with the credit card company and may be eligible for reimbursement.

– Never wire money or pay with a cashier’s check or cash.

– Be sure to purchase only from reputable sellers. For instance, look for and click on your BBB’s seal on the Web site to confirm legitimacy.

– Don’t be fooled by empty advertising claims. Just because a seller claims an item is a limited edition doesn’t mean there weren’t millions made. If the item’s being widely advertised, chances are, it’s too common to actually gain much value over the years.

– Ask the seller where he or she is located and how he or she can be contacted after the sale. If the seller is elusive, don’t pursue the offer.

– Look for secure Web sites when buying sports memorabilia. Look for a Web site with the padlock on the page and “https” in the URL web address box.

– Look for the official hologram and license from the NFL or any major sports league.

– Don’t buy anything that doesn’t have a certificate of authenticity.

– Ask for pictures so you can determine if it’s a legitimate item.

– Don’t be pressured you into making a quick decision.

– Inquire about refund and return policies.

– Get everything in writing and review your receipt.

Also, check with your BBB. It can provide Business Reviews on companies you’re considering. Visit or call 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301.

Story courtesy of Better Business Bureau.

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