Fake Pokemon Cards
Counterfeit Cards and How to Spot Them
We've been really fortunate that we do not have a problem with counterfeit Pokémon cards at our leagues and tournaments, but fake cards DO exist.
Just a reminder to be careful when buying Pokémon cards from ebay, flea markets, dollar stores, or other places like that. You know how much Pokémon cards cost (about $4 per pack), so, if you think you're getting a great deal at the dollar store, think again. That old saying comes to mind, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is".
Our best advice is to stick with reputable retailers, and if buying from another source, ask questions and pay attention to what you're buying.
Most of the time, resellers at flea markets and places like that know that what they're selling counterfeit products. Other times, sellers may not be aware that what they have are fakes. This is often true when buying at garage sales, where kids are selling their stuff. So, approach these situations with caution.
Another advice for children is to stop trading at school. Go back to our best advice of "sticking with reputable retailers".
Okay, so now that we've finished preaching about this, let's discuss the ways that you can tell if a Pokémon card you have is counterfeit.
HOW TO SPOT FAKES:
There are lots of ways to tell if a card is fake, but here are some ways to spot a counterfeit card:
1. The BIGGEST telltale sign that a Pokémon card is fake is the enlarged ENERGY symbols on the card.
The Energy symbols on the cards are found:
- on top, to the right of the HP
- to the left of the Attacks
- on the bottom (Weakness/Resistance/Retreat)
As you can see from this image, the fake card (on the right) has a darker, larger Energy symbol that takes up the entire circle. It stands out as significantly different from the real card (on the left).
2. Another really easy way to spot fake cards is to look for the accent over the "e" in the word Pokémon within the text of the card.
In the case of the Trainer cards picture here. You can clearly see that the accent is missing from the name of the card on the left (the fake).
If you look closely at the body text, you will see that the accent is also missing from the word Pokémon in the fake card.
We also see this omission within the text of attacks.
(Below, fake card on right). There is no accent over the "e" in Pokémon -- where it says "The Defending Pokémon is now Asleep".
3. The font used on fake cards are usually slightly different in type/size. It is most easily noticed when looking at the attack's damage. On a fake card, the damage is usually printed in a thinner font than on the real cards. On a real card, the damage amount is a darker, bolder number, and you can usually tell the difference if you know what to look for.
4. Other signs that a card is fake:
- spelling errors
- ridiculously high HPs or Attacks
- missing copyright and trademark symbols
5. Sometimes, in an attempt to avoid these (above) telltale signs that a card is fake, counterfeiters will scan the real cards and try to reproduce them exactly.
Here are some additional ways to tell that a card is fake:
- fuzzy, bad quality print - check the text and/or the images
- grainy card backs (the side with the Pokémon logo) vs. the crisp design of a real one
- rough edges - cards are cut poorly/cheaply
- card texture - feels grainy when you rub it with your thumb
6. Most of the time, fake cards are printed on thinner, low quality card stock. Sometimes, you can easily tell that they're flimsy and too bendable. Other times, it may not be that easy to notice.
In this case, perform the "light test".
- Hold a card up to a very bright light.
- Can you see the light through it?
- When looking at the front of the card, can you see the image of the back?
If yes, you have a fake card!
NOTE: A poor quality fake card may exhibit several of these telltale signs. And on the flip-side, a really good fake may not exhibit any noticeable signs at all. Always trust your instinct and use common sense.