New Threat on eBay with Pre-War Card Offerings from China

An increasing number of sketchy pre-war card offerings are popping up on eBay

Babe Ruth 1933 US Caramel

For as long as eBay has been around, the site has been home to all kinds of scam artists. But lately, there has been an influx of suspicious pre-war card auctions on the site.

The origin of these auctions has been China. Now, I’ve seen suspicious listings on eBay ever since I started using the site from all over the place. This is not a new problem by any means. But lately, I’ve noticed that things have gotten out of hand and there is a different type of listing out there that’s varied from past scams.

Pre-war cards are part of my routine searches on eBay and in the past few months, I’ve seen a significant increase in these types of listings. The listings are more sophisticated than many that are out there. Most not associated with these are easy to spot — raw cards, clearly fake ones, with low prices. But these are different.

These newer batches of suspicious cards are picturing ones that are, or appear to be, slabbed by PSA. Whether the holder is a fake or whether the seller is using a real picture of a card that does not belong to him/her, these listings are almost certainly not good. The tipoff is that the prices are far too low and the seller feedback for many is quite low as well.

A few constants, other than the fact that the auctions have originated from China, are pretty regular. First, while low, the asking prices are not obscenely low. For example, a Babe Ruth card that might typically sell for $2,000 will have a price tag of about $500. It is a price that is not dirt cheap but a price that someone could believe that it is a legit listing from a seller who may not be quite up on the price.

E91C Walter JohnsonThe other is that the auctions I have seen have been for straight sales. Meaning, no bidding takes place — you can simply buy the card outright. The reason for that is simple. A straight sale enables a seller to be paid quickly and gets the card off of the site before sufficient suspicion can be raised.

The good news is that many of these are being weeded out by eBay and not lasting up on the site for too long. Even the two examples I intended to post were taken down by eBay before I could write this article. But with a low price and a straight sale, it’s easy to see someone could get suckered into one of these.

I don’t want to turn this into an advice post because the advice here is quite simple and has been repeated in all kinds of articles everywhere. But if a card looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Sure, you may be able to recoup your money should you use Paypal and fall victim to a scam. But if you get caught up in some kind of mess like this, who can tell how easy that will be. A scammer that requires you to send the card back for a refund may insist that you never delivered the card at all, saying they received an empty envelope with tracking. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of this and, as disappointing as it may be to miss out on a potential deal, you also don’t want to become the victim of a scam.

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