LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — An estimated half-million sports fans are in town, pumping millions of dollars into our local economy. Unfortunately, there are some that will be looking to take advantage.
13 Action News anchor Dave Courvoisier spoke to a local expert with a warning for anyone hoping to score some sports memorabilia.
"I love it because it brings back so many childhood memories for me," said sports fan, Aaron Phillips.
Phillips loves hunting for memorabilia from his favorite players and teams, but he's careful about who he buys from.
"You've been burned before on buying?" asks Dave.
"Early on, yes. Now, it's only guaranteed stuff that I will buy and I'm comfortable," Phillips said.
To make sure he's getting what he pays for, Phillips goes to Power Play Sports Collectibles at the Boulevard Mall.
"The best reason is this, I know that when I'm looking for something that has a signature, it's guaranteed that person signed it," said Phillips.
What's not guaranteed, is the merchandise you could see at some Vegas pop-up locations during the NFL Draft.
"Definitely, there's going to be fakes out there," says Power Play owner, Scott Hosey.
Hosey believes scammers will be looking to make big bucks, peddling bogus memorabilia to innocent sports fans.
"You're going to see tons of autographs that are fake. About 75 percent of the autographs out on the market right now are fake, or just not authenticated," Hosey said.
So, how can you tell the real from the fake? Before purchasing anything, Hosey says to make sure it's examined by a third party.
Plenty of companies like Beckett Authentication Services, Professional Sports Authenticator and James Spence Authentication, have the expertise and tools to verify merchandise. If something is the real deal, these companies will register the item and include their seal of approval.
"There's a serial number. You can go on their website and actually shows what that item is. This has not only a serial number, but the fancy QR code where you can go online to their website and see that this is actually a Max Crosby autographed helmet," Hosey said.
Hosey says you're taking a real chance when buying anything that's not authenticated.
Just recently, Hosey had this 49ers photograph examined for a customer, but the person who authenticates items had bad news.
"He could tell that this Joe Montana and this Jerry Rice were not real, fake. He was not able to authenticate it," Hosey said.
The bottom line, Hosey says protect yourself.
"Make sure it's authenticated. Don't risk your hard earned dollars," Hosey said.
As for Phillips, he says he's definitely done taking chances. So while he's not really looking to turn a profit, he'll make sure his purchases are authenticated before buying.
"I buy for my own enjoyment. I'm not buying this stuff to make money. That's not an investment. Unless I happen to have a piece that someone wants and I happen to get lucky. But I'm doing this for my own enjoyment," Phillips said.