We all know that saying. “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Earlier this week, I got offered the Holy Grail of all Pokémon Cards, the 1st Edition Shadowless Charizard! Or so I thought! Wherever there is money to be made, there will be scammers.
For us Pokémon collectors, we already have seen people selling Fake Vintage Booster Boxes, Fake Packs, Fake Cards, and even trained collectors can get scammed! Some of these fakes are just that good! Those with an untrained eye can get scammed pretty hard and that’s why I’m making this Post!
On Wednesday June 3rd I received this message from a user on Instagram “Wanna buy two of my base set Charizard for 100 bucks?” Now any collector would get excited to get a message like this right? That’s a Steal! He sends me this message after I ask him if he still has the cards: “In fact to make things easier for you to pay, could you just get me a Google play gift card? I already gave 50$ to the George Floyd donation so I'll pay for your shipping tommorow! Just a 20$ one. I'll give it to you cheaper since you seem really cool! Then I'll ship you the card, but what's your po box?” My first thought was: I need to see a picture first because I don’t know what conditions they’re in or if it’s even from Base Set. I received the Picture of this 1st Edition Shadowless Charizard and it was in fact 100% Real! This is the actual picture I received.
Ok so, the card is Legit, let’s do this Deal. I told him I would check the condition of the card when I received it and if it’s in good condition, I’d send him more money to be fair. I know what I’m getting here and I was prepared to surprise him with a lot more money than he had originally asked for. So I tell him to ship the card to my store. He asks me to send him the google play gift card whenever I’m ready for him to send it out. Now, this is where this part gets tricky for most of us here. Who sends First???
This is the Deal Breaker of most deals. “Who sends first.” We all have our rules about this but in my opinion, He contacted me, He came to me and offered me a card and knows a lot more about me and my store than I do of him (his page was private). I believe he should send first. A lot of us have Trust issues and I let him know that he did not have any references for me to go off of. This is where you guys have to do research on the person you are trading or selling to. Confirm that they are an Honest and Real person, not a fake account. A LOT of people including myself are scared to send first, and you have every right to be scared! There a ton of shady people online!
He goes on to say: “Is there any way you could trust me to send it to you? I promise I'll send it! That's a promise from me to you! I'll send you a golden Dragonite too so you can't get scammed.” I was already skeptical, but this message raised huge Red Flags. The deal is already too good to be true and he’s adding in More now?? I sent him some proof of my feedback across platforms like eBay, TCGPlayer, etc to see assure him that he dealing with a Trusted Source. It doesn’t work, he tells me he’s scared, and tells me if I can send the google play card once he shows me proof that it's on route. At this point, we went back and forth for a couple more messages but neither of us budged.
“No deal.” The whole conversation only lasted about 2 mins and after we stopped communication I went to work and “Reverse Searched” the image that he originally sent. (Reverse image search is a technology that takes an image file as a search engine input query and returns results related to the image.) Now, what I learned is that I should have done this First! Upon searching, I found multiple pages on Google matching that exact image, the thumb placement was the same, everything was an exact match. There was actually a lot of people that were using that image to sell or buy cards. I highly recommend using reverse image search if you want an extra layer of verification. You can also ask them to send you a picture with today’s date or any other writing of your choosing to verify if they actually own the card(s). After I found out that he stole that picture, I messaged him back and he could not prove that he had the card. His excuse was that he did not have a writing utensil to put my username on a piece of paper next to the Charizard. I asked him some more questions before calling him out because I wanted to see what other excuses he was going to use. All of a sudden his quick replies were gone. It was pretty pathetic and he just left the conversation.
I’m a very optimistic person and I do believe in having an open mind of “Anything can happen.” I mean this Deal could’ve been real, you know? I was prepared to even overpay to get my hands on this GEM 💎 but it’s all good, I did not gain nor lose. I’ve heard crazy stories and have had a few crazy experiences of my own but just make sure to ask the right questions and you will get the right answers. I just want to share this information with you all to make sure you guys are careful when trading or selling online. People can be desperate, especially in times like this. Everyone wants to come up on a good deal. I hope this helps someone out though, because I could even see experienced collectors just going for the deal and just sending him the $20 to take the chance to see if he actually sends it out and I’m pretty sure that if he messages enough people, some might fall for it BUT this is exactly how people SCAM online, they make it too good to be true and you need to be aware and not fall for this!