What To Do if You Bought Fake Autographs: Info to help you get your money back

With the expansion of information found on the internet, it's likely that many of these unknowing buyers are going to eventually find out that they've been scammed from one of the many major autograph forgery dealers out there.  With this being said, it's absolutely not too late no matter how much time has gone by for you to seek redemption.

First, be sure the items you purchased are 100% forgeries.  Start by doing a Google search for the seller's name along with the word "Scam" "Fake Autographs" "Forgeries", etc. to see if anyone else has been posting information about them.  This isn't proof positive but it will help you gather some information that can help steer you in the right direction.  Keep in mind even some of the biggest forgers don't have much bad press online yet about them.  Next, submit your items to any of the recognized experts for third party authentication.  Most notable are PSA/DNA and JSA.  Definitely don't waste your time using forensic experts as none have been proven trustworthy in this hobby to date.  Lastly, you can also confirm here by posting images and asking some of the veterans in this hobby their input on both the autograph and the seller.  If your findings result in a confirmation that you purchased a fake autograph, please do not hesitate and take immediate action to do the following:

Obviously first and foremost contact your attorney if you have one.  You may also find free legal advice online besides what we suggest below which is always a good suggestion.
File an immediate dispute with whatever method of payment you made.  If it's a credit card, do a charge-back by calling the credit card company and disputing the charge.  They have sent you illegal fraudulent material.  If it was paypal, file a dispute.  Next, you must complete the following steps to ensure you get any sort of refund:

Contact your local and state police department and file complaints.

Contact THEIR local and state police departments and file complaints. 

These first few steps you may find difficult as in most cases the police aren't prepared to handle such calls as most people don't call in on such things but again, it's important you do this because the more people that do, the more serious this becomes and regardless, there needs to be a paper trail of complaints against these criminals for you to ever consider getting your money back.

If either you or they are located in or near a major city, call the local branch of the FTC.  You can google "FTC" along with the city name to find the phone #.  Again, insist that you are allowed to file a complaint.

File a complaint with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

File an online report: http://www.ripoffreport.com

File a complaint with the FTC: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

File a mail-fraud complaint with the USPS: https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx

File a complaint with the National Fraud Information Center:  http://www.fraud.org/info/contactnfic.htm 

File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau http://www.bbb.org

 

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is you for you to take the time to do these few steps.  It is only through consistent efforts and vigilance that we can get these criminals brought to justice.  We also suggest doing blogs and free press releases so that this information gets copied to others.  Please copy all of this information documented here add your own story of how you got ripped off, and spread the word.

Free blog sites to do so include:

www.WordPress.com

www.Blogger.com

Note: You're blog will probably get the most exposure
here on Autograph Magazine Live!

—Editor

Submit press releases for free to as many of these as you can:

http://www.avangate.com/articles/press-release-distribution_69.htm

In your blogs and press releases ask anyone else who has been ripped off to contact you so that you can join forces against these criminals.

It's time to put our feet down. Create a private gmail.com email account so that others can contact you regarding this information while keeping your full name anonymous so you can pool your efforts.  There's no reason for you to include any of your personal information with these online postings.  Simply state the facts and your newly created gmail account.  If anyone contacts you regarding they also having been ripped off, call the police department again to add this to your complaint.  Also email the person back and make sure they also call the same phone #s and police departments to file complaints as well.  Now those same agencies are getting 3+ phone calls on the same issue and as such are 3 times as likely to finally do something about it.  Also of course tell this person to copy all the same information you've been posting and create new posts of their own.

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Tags: autograph, autographs, buy, criminal, do, fake, for, forgeries, if, sale, More…scam, to, what, you

Comment by Steve Cyrkin Community Mgr. on March 7, 2011 at 12:51am

Todd,

This is a great piece, thanks. People can post their stories, with images, on this site. We rank high in search engines, so their stories will reach more people. And of course, people come here with their questions.

Comment by DB on April 1, 2011 at 3:25am

and be especially cognizant of timetables to file complaints with places like paypal, visa & mc

the rules also change if you buy something in-person that as a result turns out to be a fake

if you procure an item in person have it clearly written that the item is authentic especially if you buy at shows.  Don't fall for the of course it is verbiage... get it in writing.

 

Comment by Josh Board on April 2, 2011 at 1:55am

I would like to do this, but here's a question. This is an awful lot of work to do, and money (to get the authenticating that it's fake, lawyers, etc). If we do all this, what are the chances of us getting our money back? Or is this all to just help further schnooks from getting scammed?

 

Comment by DB on April 2, 2011 at 2:12am

Josh - 50/50 at best IMHO.   I look at this like sort of a checklist as seldomly do you take all those steps.  Would you pay a lawyer $225/hr to fight for a $199,,, $399 etc,, purchase?   They know that most won't which is why they are so arrogant.    If however you have a big bank (e.g.  Citi or BOA) then don't just wait in line at the "dispute" or 1st level customer service.  Seek out the executive advocates who are usually attached to the CEO's office.  By the time a purchase with a cc is found to be fraudulent the typical time frame has passed however the EAs have much more authority to act on specific cases.

& it's to help us schnooks...   but one important factor is to file a Mail Fraud Complaint (they are worse than EBAY in actions but the more that come in on a certain place, (e.g. Coach's Corner) then the more attention the complaints will start to get.

Comment by Mike Janes on January 1, 2013 at 1:13pm

Do have to say thanks for posting this article, did get a refund on some fakes from some misleading auction house listings; went that route thinking they were more reputable than eBay or others and would do their due diligence checking authenticity before selling - I was wrong!   For almost a year they refused to do anything about it until going through all the steps above, BBB stepped into help.  If didn't go through these steps would never have gotten any of my money back!  Did not send them to get authenticated entirely, just quick opinion and they came back most likely fake.  The steps for reporting were not that time consuming, few hours, and though something don't want to deal with better to do so than let them get away with ripping people off.

Comment by Yaakov Edisherashvili on September 18, 2018 at 3:27am

Can i contact the seller and tell him that i have a proof that the sold item is a fake, or go directly to the bank, 

the police told me that in order to get it done we need a written refusal of the seller or may be he will agree to refund the money. With the fake item i also have the fake COA

Tell me is it the right thing to do to contact the seller?

 

Comment by Steve Cyrkin Community Mgr. on September 18, 2018 at 7:37am

It's usually best to contact the seller first but not always. 

A few questions:

How did you pay and when and where did you buy it?

Is it a regular business or an individual?

Comment by Yaakov Edisherashvili on September 18, 2018 at 7:45am

i bought it in internet and i paid by Credit card

the seller has a regular, from a web page 

Comment by Steve Cyrkin Community Mgr. on September 18, 2018 at 7:57am

If you'd like, message me and we'll discuss the details and figure out what to do. Don't use chat. Use our email system. 

Comment by idkkamila on November 2, 2018 at 8:46am

I recently bought fake autographs from a person, who I know now, has been known to make fake accounts and sell forged autographs (Erick McKay) and I'm looking for a refund of my money, if I was to file a dispute with my PayPal (How I sent the payment) how should I go about it? I'm 16 and I don't really know much about this stuff so it would be greatly appreciated if I could have a bit more help!

Thanks, Kamila

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