A 23-year-old man from Edmonton, Alberta has been charged with forging documents under false pretenses. Back in April of 2018, Chandra Vinesh Singh used Facebook to contact several unsuspecting victims posing as a member of either the Edmonton Oilers Entertainment group or Pro-Am Sports.
Singh forged the signature of Edmonton Oilers captain and star center, Connor Mc David, on two team jerseys and sold them for a large sum. One jersey sold for $1,400 while another one went for $23,000.
Continue reading to learn how these sports memorabilia scams work and how you can avoid spending excessive amounts of money on these scams.
Most scams featuring sports memorabilia will occur randomly in person or online through sites such as eBay or Craigslist. Scam artists that sell items with forged signatures have been practicing their skill for quite some time. They will study and practice one particular athlete’s signature over and over until it’s perfected before they try to sell an item.
Upon perfecting their forged signature they will often set up an eBay shop and begin listing various autographed memorabilia. The scammer will claim that their item is the original or give some other catchy description in order to increase interest.
Once a bid is won or an item is purchased outright, the scammer will deliver the fake item in order to keep his business open. Not sending the advertised item could get the scammer removed from the eBay platform.
Oftentimes, a fake memorabilia scammer will set up a small shop at a trade show or near a sporting event in order to prey on the casual fan looking for an authentic souvenir.
Ask the seller plenty of questions about the item. If it’s authentic, the seller will be able to answer your questions quickly and confidently. If he stumbles over his words or gives vague answers, look elsewhere. The item is more than likely a forgery.
If you are interested in buying something that is autographed, examine the handwriting thoroughly. Focus not necessarily on what it says but rather on the strokes and inkblots. If an item looks like it was signed with a single, continuous pen stroke, it was probably signed by an autopen. You’ll want to look for spots in which the writing stopped and started again. This demonstrates a more human-like approach to handwriting.
If you are looking to buy sports memorabilia online, look at the seller’s history to determine if they run a legitimate business. Buying items online that you can not authentic is always dangerous but you may have success. Never buy memorabilia that does not come with a certificate of authenticity. Request the number, and look it up to verify that the certificate is real.
To be absolutely certain that you aren’t being duped, only make purchases for items you can see and investigate in person. Only buy from a company that has their own storefront. This assures that they are a legitimate business and have a certain level of accountability. If a seller comes down on their price or easily negotiates, take your business elsewhere.
Authentic sports memorabilia will hold its value and should not subject to negotiations. The value is what it is. Only buy from someone who values the product just as much as you do.