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PSA/BGS slab scam? 4 best tips to spot a fake graded card

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Owning a graded card of your favorite athlete is a must for any dedicated collector. For one, it preserves the card itself to help it last longer. It also looks good when you obtain quite a number of these slabs. For others, PSA or BGS graded cards are much easier to flip to make a quick profit.

The thing with graded cards, though, is that they can be faked by those with questionable intentions. Collectors who don’t practice sufficient discernment or caution will end up spending their hard-earned money on something that has less value than they realize. Shown below are some effective tips to help you spot these fake slabs.
Ask for closer images of the slab
Nowadays, most collectors opt to buy their cards online, like eBay or Facebook. When the transaction is done in this manner, the ability to personally check these graded cards go out the window. Nevertheless, the need for due diligence becomes more important than ever for card enthusiasts.

The first step that should be done is to ask for close-up images of the slab in question. In making this request, it’s crucial to remember these key points: the label, the corners, and the surface of the graded card itself. The photos that will be sent to you by the buyer should clearly convey these sections of the slab. If this is done properly, potential buyers will have the chance to remotely determine the condition before any deal is finalized. 
Check the label
One of the most effective ways to spot a fake slab is to take a closer look at the label. According to PSA, their preferred method of determining the authenticity of their graded cards is to hold the label in front of a bright light. Once this is done, the label’s text should be deciphered by the naked eye. If not, there’s a chance the PSA slab is a fake.

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Which one is the fake one? (This is reason #1 why I never purchase old PSA graded card slabs, nor trust the comps on them anymore. Needs to be in a new slab with a new grade. Too many good forgeries coming out of China and India.) pic.twitter.com/j7w2zGiyoY
— PSA10Collectibles (@Psa10Collector) June 7, 2021

Another red flag that collectors should look out for is the length of the PSA label. In a post by Cardporn, there are several examples of alleged PSA graded cards with labels that don’t fit the slab’s top section. If you encounter this kind of PSA slab, reporting it to the proper authorities is a must to prevent anyone from being scammed.

When it comes to BGS slabs, always check the patent number inscribed on the bottom section. It should have a period right after the first three letters. If this mark doesn’t show, or if there’s no patent number present, the BGS slab in question is a fake.
Inspect it personally
If given the chance, the ideal way to inspect a PSA or BGS graded card is to physically hold it in your hand. From there, you can use the tips stated above and apply it to the slab you’re planning to purchase.

With the recent guidelines concerning social distancing, physically checking on these graded cards won’t be possible at any time you choose. If you are given the chance to do so, it’s wise to protect yourself using a mask or deal with someone who has been vaccinated for safety’s sake.
Ask assistance from someone credible
When faced with a dilemma that can’t be solved, the practical solution would be to call on someone with the necessary experience and expertise. For this matter, finding a person who can help you distinguish a fake slab from an authentic one can be a lifesaver.
More often than not, a trusted collector with the ability to authenticate a graded card is just around the corner. You can ask for leads in various social media platforms and there’s a big chance you’ll get to communicate with one. Once you’ve found this person, you can present the card you want to purchase and have it examined for any sign of tampering.
These are just some of the ways collectors can use to determine the authenticity of a slab. Collectors can also ask their friends or do further research online for other methods. At the end of the day, it’s important to be discerning with these graded cards so you won’t lose money down the line.

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