Posted by E-Bay on their website!
How to spot a forgery on Ebay and frequently asked question on what to do if you have been the victim of a forgery scam. The police, FBI and Professional Autographed Dealers Association estimates that 90-98% of the A-list Hollywood Celebrity autographs on Ebay are FORGERIES or are in some way counterfeit. There is now a firestorm of 20,000-30,000 forgeries, counterfeits and illegal copyrighted items being sold every few weeks! It has become a multimillion dollar business.
Beware of Ebay Dealers with a GOOD feedback rating.
That’s right a GOOD feedback rating! The FBI warns that most forgery dealers have good feedback ratings often in the thousands. Just because a dealer shows a good feedback rating does NOT mean the item is authentic, all it means is the dealer has sent out an item in a timely manner. Forgers are very manipulative and will use good “customer service” to mask the fact they are selling forgeries.
Beware of Dealers with a lot of inventory.
Celebrities sign a very limited number of items every year. Dealers who claim to have dozens or even hundreds of items from the same celebrity or film production are most likely selling forgeries. Forgery Dealers are very clever so watch out.
Beware of dealers selling items like scripts or photos that are REPRINTS or COPIES.
First, many of theses items are copies of forgeries and Second, most of the items are ILLEGAL copies of copyrighted motion picture and television photos and scripts. If you buy one of these item it is just like buying a bootleg copy of a movie, it’s illegal and you could be held liable so stay away from these dealers. If you want to buy an authorized script copy contact the studio to purchase an authentic copy (not an illegal one).
WATCH OUT for Listing Tricks:
Watch out for listing tricks that sellers use to get out of legal responsibility for selling you a forgery. If an item says “Autographed Photo of Angelina Jolie” They are not claiming the item is SIGNED BY Angelina, they are only claiming that somebody signed it.
Watch out for fuzzy photos and unclear signatures:
There are problems with both clear and fuzzy photos. A clever forger may show a picture of an authentic autograph and sell you a false one. Other dealers buy directly from forgers who come close enough to the real signature that they proudly display the forgery with a crystal clear photo. But a dealer who won’t even show a clear photo or clear signature is definitely suspect and probably avoided.
Watch out for TRICK Certificates of Authenticity:
COA’s can be printed on any paper by anyone unless the COA specifically holds legal claims that the item is real and the person takes legal responsibility if it is otherwise the COA is just a trick and false sense of security. Insist that a COA has a live signature and the person claiming legal responsibility’s name is printed clearly under the signature. Make sure the COA states that the item is a legal original autograph signed BY the celebrity in question and that further the photo and or script the signature is printed on is authorized by copyright and trademark laws and by the owner of the trademark.
Don’t buy from dealers who will NOT allow you to authenticate the item before you send the money:
Make sure the seller has a notice in their listing that allows winning bidders to authenticate the item before the buyer send payment. A seller who does not offer this service is probably trying to trick you into buying the item. A money back guarantee is not enough because a forger will make off with your money.
Google Ebay Seller forgery lists: Consumer Advocates have set up lists of Ebay sellers who are thought to be selling forgeries. Check out the lists and make sure you aren’t buying from one. X-LIST ect.
IF YOU MUST BUY AN AUTOGRAPH ON EBAY
FIND A LEGITIMATE AND PROFESSIONAL DEALER: If you must have an autograph, consider buying only from authentic autograph dealers who are governed by strict association such as the Professional Autograph Dealers Association. Many of these dealers sell on Ebay and they are actual professionals trained to identify authentic signatures.
HAVE THE ITEM AUTHENTICATED BEFORE YOU BUY: Bid only on items that allow you to authenticate the item before you make payment. If they will not let you authenticate the item, they may be trying to trick you into buying or bidding on a forgery. Ebay rules favor the SELLER even when the seller is trying to peddle a forgery. If you bid on an item and find out it is a forgery, EBAY and the Seller may try to force to you to buy the forgery anyway because you bid so watch out and buy only from sellers who allow you to authenticate the item first and cancel the sale if it is not authentic.
GET A LEGALLY BINDING CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY: Make sure the dealer provides an original Certificate of Authenticity (COA) claiming the item is an authentic original autograph signed by the actual celebrity and that the photo or script is an authorized copyright. Make sure the COA also contains a real signature of someone willing to take legal responsibility and their name is clearly printed under their signature. The COA should also contain the name, address and phone number of the COA issuer.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Patrick Stewart, Meg Ryan, JK Rowling Wes Craven and many other celebrities are telling their fans and the general public NOT to buy anything on Ebay claiming to have their autograph because it is highly unlikely the items are authentic and Ebay currently does not have any system in place to prevent forgeries from being listed.