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How to Spot Fake Pokémon Cards

How to Spot Fake Pokémon Cards

Pokémon cards are back in vogue once again, and there has been an increase in scammers selling fake Pokemon cards to unsuspecting people. In order to collect Pokémon cards, whether you're a collector or an enthusiast, you need to know how to tell real from fake cards.

Logan Paul, who is one of the most popular YouTubers, almost suffered the same fate. He and a group of investors almost bought a box of fake Pokemon cards that supposedly sold for $375,000 to them. However, the seller agreed to let them open the booster box before payment, which is how they were able to discover that it was a fake. He was unaware of this mistake at the time because his "Pokémon advisor" had missed it. 

In most cases, people have not been as lucky with purchasing free Pokémon cards as Paul Logan. In addition, some people may not have a Pokémon advisor close by to stop them from providing their money to scammers. We wrote this article so that you can learn how to spot a fake Pokémon card, whether you're buying from a physical retailer or an online retailer. 

How to tell if a Pokémon card is fake?

Genuine Pokemon cards are worth holding onto. Whenever you buy a Pokémon card whether it is a new one or a used one, make sure you examine it carefully before you add it to your collection.

In order to familiarize yourself with Pokémon, you should ask yourself questions like “Are Pokémon real?”

In order to tell a genuine Pokémon card from a fake one, how do you do it? In order to do that, you should take note of the following points:

  • Spelling and font
  • Energy symbols
  • Color
  • Manufacturing method
  • Texture and feel
  • Packaging
  • The rip Pokémon test

If you already have some Pokémon cards, but you want to know how to tell whether a Pokémon card is fake or not; 

Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this Pokémon exist? Is Pokémon real, or are these weird Pokémon cards?
  • Does the back of a Pokémon card have different colors?
  • Does every e in “Pokémon” have an accent?
  • Is the card free of grammatical and typographical errors?
  • Does the card have the year it was printed?
  • Does the card have the number of elemental symbols in all the correct places on the card?
  • Does the card have a reasonable number of HP? The highest HP Pokémon card should be 300; if not, it may be fake.

If you answered No to any or all of these questions, chances are high that your Pokémon card is a fake. It is recommended that if you are still unsure of the card's status, you should run a quick search on the official Pokémon Trading Card Game website's card database to verify the card's authenticity. 

Spelling and font

This is a very easy way to spot a fake Pokémon card. It is recommended that you thoroughly proofread the card text before purchasing any weird Pokémon cards. There is a possibility that the attack names may be misspelled, which is a sure sign that the attack is a fake.

The makers of original Pokémon cards hire professionals to proofread their cards in order to ensure spelling mistakes are not made. However, scammers may not have the resources to do so. They don't know how to make Pokémon cards like the manufacturers do. Similarly, knock-off Pokémon cards may miss the accent on the spelling of "Pokémon" as well.

On fake Pokémon cards, the font is usually different from that on the original cards. Place genuine and fake cards side by side in order to familiarize yourself with this, and you will notice the differences right away. Depending on the card, the font size may be smaller or even larger than the one on a genuine Pokémon card.

Energy symbols

It is also possible that the Pokémon symbols on cards may appear distorted or misaligned. You will be able to notice this if you place a genuine Pokémon card beside it and compare them side by side. It may even be too small or too large.

There may also be a missing Pokémon card symbol under the descriptions of the attacks. It can sometimes be easy to miss things like this if you're not on the lookout for anomalies, so it's vital to keep an eye out for anomalous situations.


There is another way to differentiate a real Pokémon card from a fake one by doing this. Make sure that the colors are not smudged, faded, inaccurate, or too dark, or if they are simply too dark. 

When you turn the fake Pokémon card to the back, you'll be able to see different details of the artwork. If the card and the color look familiar to you, that is the first indication that there may be something wrong with the card.

There is no doubt that an authentic Pokémon card will have a light blue back, with the same shade throughout the card. Authentic Pokémon cards, on the other hand, are not usually blue or just blue; in most cases, they come in a mixture of light blue and other shades of blue. 

If you're a Pokémon collector, investing in a magnifying glass will help you inspect your collection more quickly.

Manufacturing method

In most cases, fake Pokemon cards aren't manufactured in the same way as genuine Pokémon cards. One main difference is the type of cutting method used. Fakes often look like they were punched out of cardboard so pay close attention to the edges and borders.

When you take a closer look at the card, you may notice that there are a series of white dots or pieces of cardboard fluff along the edge.

A fake card may also have a thicker border on one side than the other, which is another difference between fakes and real cards. In most cases, there will be a clean and smooth edge around the edges of individual Pokémon cards.

It is possible, however, that there might be a manufacturing mistake, "miss-cut," or an error on the part of the printing company resulting from manufacturing. Documentation of these events is often available. In this case, collectors are on the lookout for specific misprints or errors on a card that can help them identify it. You should check online to see if anyone else has noticed the same error that you have and if anyone else has noticed it as well. You may have been able to obtain more valuable Pokemon cards if you have misprinted your Pokémon cards in the past.

Texture and feel

In case you are at a physical store, you can conduct this simple test if you are there. Make sure that you inspect the card very closely. A fake item is one that feels light, flimsy, and will bend easily when it is touched. 

As a result of the poor quality of the cardstock, when a flashlight is pointed at a card like this, you will be able to pass the light through easily. 


Aside from purchasing single Pokemon cards, you should also be very cautious when buying bulk cards, especially from unknown sources. There are many cases where cheap materials are used to make the box that is used to package the product. Therefore, it is critical to check whether the plastic wrapping layer that has been applied to the product is genuine.

In most cases, a fake Pokémon booster box will not have a plastic poke ball shrink-wrap, which is usually present on a genuine Pokémon booster box. This is however not always a guarantee since some sellers may remove the wrapping during the sale, so make sure you do your research before making a purchase.

Also, when purchasing sealed Pokemon cards, make sure you search for any official trademark symbols on the body of the packaging before buying them. There is a high chance that you may forget this simple step most of the time.

The rip test

This is often one of the last ways a person would be able to find out if Pokémon cards are genuine; as its name implies, you would have to rip the cards up. Most people use this method when they are getting a lot of cards at once.

There is a sure way to make a real Pokémon card by layering semi-opaque paper and plastic in the middle of the card. If you were to make a tear in the paper, you would see a black line of ink that follows the rip/tear that you caused. Even though it is thin, it can be seen up close.

The majority of producers will not put themselves through the trouble of adding semi-opaque paper to their copycats, so there won't be any visible black lines when their copycats are being made.

If you perform this test and you do not see a streak or see a blue streak instead of a black streak, then you can rest assured that you have a fake Pokémon card on your hands.

How to Tell if a Japanese Card is Fake

The signs for this card are the same as those for any other Pokémon card. It should be noted, however, that the Japanese Pokémon card back is slightly different from the others. Don't assume that you have bought a counterfeit card just because they have slightly different art than the English versions.

In the same vein, don't assume that the back art on the item is genuine just because it's Japanese. They usually have a different back design than we do.

A quick search online will give you a nice idea of what a Japanese Pokémon card should look like if you want one.

How do I detect a fake card when buying online?

When making a purchase, it is always advisable to take the card and feel it first. However, these days there are a lot of people who are selling Pokemon cards on online marketplaces and Facebook groups. In order to avoid making a mistake like this, there are a few tips you should keep in mind.

The first thing that needs to be done is to confirm the credibility of the buyer. Take a look at the previous reviews that the seller has received. Secondly, you should ask for photos of the product and study them closely using the tips that you have already read here. When an online store does not provide unique product photos, it is a sign that it is not credible.

In addition, it is a smart idea to buy your cards from a business that is registered and reputable. Check out Pokémon cards that are available near me and read reviews about them before you buy. It is more likely that a store would be more concerned about the satisfaction of its customers than a random seller on the internet. 

What do I do when in doubt?

In conclusion, buying fake Pokémon cards and being scammed out of your precious money is an incredibly heartbreaking experience. In the event that you are unsure, you should consult with others who are more experienced in spotting fakes. There are Facebook groups where people can buy and sell Pokémon cards. You can post an image there and ask for the opinion of others before making a purchase by posting an image there. There is a high chance that it is a fake if the majority of respondents agree that it is fake.

If you are considering spending thousands of dollars on acquiring a rare Pokémon card or a vintage Pokémon pack, you should seek the advice of an expert in this field before making a decision.