Pack Searchers Are One Thing…

Ever since the advent of jersey cards in products, people have been there to beat the system when opening packs to make money. These morally deceptive people have camped out at retailers across the country with their system, all with the goal of finding jersey and auto cards without ever opening the pack. These “pack searchers” have become some of the most hated people in the hobby, and have made buying loose retail packs for hits an unwinnable venture.

After obtaining these searched packs, they often sell them on eBay as “hot packs,” or packs of product for sale with guaranteed hits inside. Collectors often buy the packs expecting a chance at a nice card, but usually end up with nothing more than a plain jersey card. It’s unethical, damaging, and underhanded, despite the fact that manufacturers have used decoy cards to try and fend them off. As the companies have started to clearly label their retail packs, coupled with the decreasing value of plain jersey cards, pack searchers have diminished in numbers. It doesn’t stop people from trying their hand at it, but really, it’s not as much of a problem as it used to be.

There is one thing I saw recently that made me cringe, and that is the number of sellers out there who flat out cheat buyers who don’t know the logistics of the practice. Recently, an auction was posted, featuring the claim that the hot pack for sale contained a 1 of 1 superfractor out of 2009 Topps Chrome Football. Superfractors are extremely valuable for top tier rookies and players, and are some of the most sought after cards in the hobby. Every red flag I had in place started to go off in my head, rightfully so.

For those of you who have opened the packs of this product, its no surprise that this is a completely impossible claim to make. A superfractor is physically impossible to search out in an unopened pack, as the card features no discernable difference from the regular cards. They are not thicker, they don’t weigh more, and they are not a guaranteed hit in any box. Therefore, any claim that any unopened pack contains one, is 100% false.

Of course, because not everyone is familiar with these facts, there are bidders on the pack, which should end upwards of 100 dollars. I feel horrible for the winning bidder, because whoever buys the pack will end up with a superfractor that isn’t worth anything, out of a pack that has been opened and resealed. The seller has opened the pack, saw that the superfractor was probably a cheerleader card or lower tier player, glued the pack shut, and is selling it under the suspicion that the sale will get him more money.


The easiest way to punish any scam artist is to not buy into the scam, especially when there are very few avenues to take corrective action on this person. The seller’s pack will deliver what it says, but only because the person has advanced knowledge of what is going to come out of the pack. It’s completely unethical and unfair to the buyer, and I recommend never trusting anything you can’t verify with 100% certainty.

Personally, I would avoid hot packs all together, even if the sale seems legit. It encourages cheating, and provides funds for people who do not deserve them. You will NEVER make back your money, and the risk will never be worth the reward.

New Watchdog Post: Check Out Tuff

First off, I want to thank Tuff Stuff for actually taking initiative on items like this and letting me post about it. They were really the only ones willing to look at the bad people in this hobby with the idea of education, and I applaud that. Even though it can be scary for new collectors to learn of fakes and scams, its all about knowing, and knowing is half the battle. Right?

The second hobby watchdog article is up on the front page of the site and focuses on the asshole who sold the fake Exquisite Peterson Viking head logo for over $2000. Make sure to check it out, and also keep checking back here for all things scam related.

Tuff Stuff’s Hobby Watchdog Warns of Fake Exquisite Patches

Can We Ever Trust Buybacks Again?

Over the last few months, I have spent a lot of time discussing fake autos, fake patches, and all sorts of scams across this hobby. Lately the amount of certain types of fakes has nearly quadrupled, leading me to question every single part of every auto that makes it on eBay. Its tiring really.

One of the scams that has blown up recently has been the production of fake buybacks, mostly bad ones. Sellers take cards that are pretty much worthless unsigned, and sign them illegitamately themselves under the auspices that the card was re-purchased by the manufacturer and signed officially. The term for these cards is “buyback” because the company actually goes out and buys unsigned versions of old cards for signatures. They are pretty rare in most cases, unless you look at a product like Bowman Originals, a set comprised completely of buybacks.

The problem is, people have found ways to transfer stickers or cases that usually secure the cards as real. This has caused a boom in fakes, and even people who just dont care enough to do it the convincing way.

When it comes to any future buybacks, im pretty much going to say right now that this situation has prevented me from buying one ever again. Now that Rookie Premiere Autographs are ruined, as well as these, non-scam ridden card types are dropping like flies. Of course, because companies REFUSE to do anything to prevent it, and eBay makes tons of money off it, no one will ever force them to stop.

Hopefully, over the next few years, companies can find a way to make the cards tamperproof. However, when you see that people can fake slabs on PSA cards, its going to be really tough to figure out a way to stop the scammers. I say that educating the uneducated is the best answer, even though there are people out there who think that one shouldnt do anything until they are scammed themselves. As stupid as that sounds, these douchebags take advantage of every edge they can get. Give em an inch and they take a mile. Do you have any ideas?