South San Francisco, CA February 11, 2022 Submitted by Better Business Bureau
When shopping for a team jersey or other sports memorabilia, watch out for fakes. Scammers know that authentic game-used and/or autographed items can fetch big bucks – especially for items commemorating the big game.
How this scam works
You are looking to buy a jersey or other item from your favorite sports team. By clicking on a social media ad or online search result, you find a website that promises great deals on authentic products. The store name isn’t familiar, but the photos look legitimate.
When you place an order, your credit card account is charged, and you receive a confirmation email. Everything seems normal, until weeks pass and the jersey never arrives. One disappointed fan reported the following to BBB Scam Tracker: “This company advertised selling collector’s items of sports merchandise in special boxes. Each box was supposed to have a guaranteed certain number of team-related items like a jersey, signed football or mini helmet, etc.. I paid 69.99 for the top box of Chicago Bears items. What I actually got was a cheap no-brand jersey, NFL keychain, and face mask. I went to the website to make sure I didn’t misread anything, and the site was not working. We did not expect to be scammed out of items and not get what we paid for.”
Read the complete BBB Tip about buying sport merchandise online for more advice
How to avoid sports merchandise scams:
- Avoid impulse buying, especially on social media. Always take the time to research the item and the seller before you click “buy.”
- Check for valid contact information. If a business doesn’t have a U.S. or Canadian phone number, consider it a red flag. Trustworthy businesses should have a working phone number and preferably, a physical address that checks out, too.
- Double-check COAs: Certificates of authenticity (COAs) are the norm for memorabilia purchases, especially for costly items —so it’s likely that scammers will try to provide fake ones. A valid COA should state the qualifications and complete contact information of the issuer. Before you trust a COA, make sure it contains full and correct details on who issued it, and then make sure they’re a legitimate and reputable authority.
- Pay with your credit card. Credit cards offer more protection for buyers than other payment methods.
- Check the complete BBB Tip for more advice.