Spotting a Fake: How to Know if Memorabilia is Real

Posted on 09/04/2014

Some scammers are using comedian Robin Williams' death as an opportunity to prey on unsuspecting victims. They're using a tactic called click baiting. When people click on links or try to purchase commemorative souvenirs about Robin Williams they'll end up downloading malware or accidentally sharing personal information. The best way to avoid a scam is to make sure memorabilia is real.

Hover Over a Link
Before you click, try hovering. Hovering your mouse over a link will display the actual website that you are being redirected to. Does it match the site you thought you were going to? If not, it may be a fishy link set up for a click baiting scam.

Be Skeptical at the Start
According to eBay, as many as nine out of ten autographs on eBay are fakes. If the seller has "private" auctions and has thousands of autographs to sell, those are good indications that you should be skeptical.

Look at Feedback
If a piece of memorabilia is being sold on a site like eBay, take a look at the seller's feedback. Pay close attention to negative comments for repetitive complaints. Take note of the feedback percentage from buyers as well. A higher percentage should give you more confidence when making a purchase.

Google the Seller
Do a little digging and see if you can find any other information on the seller. Google their name and keep an eye out for any accusations of fakes. If other people were scammed there's a chance that they are sharing their stories online.

Use Paypal When Possible
PayPal offers anti-fraud technology. Plus when you pay with PayPal your financial information is never given to the seller. If something goes wrong, or if you think the memorabilia you bought isn't real, you may qualify for a full reimbursement.

By Alison Storm

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