It seems simple. You search around the Internet and find a reputable dealer. It may be an online company, a dealer in your area, or even a friend that's selling their piece for a little bit of extra cash. You compare the prices, find the best deal and the sale is made. It ends with you going home a little closer to your favorite player, and very happy with your purchase. It's foolproof!
But if it's that foolproof, then why do so many people buy fakes?
Well, the answer is simple, it's not actually foolproof (far from it). Everybody understands the importance of buying from a reputable dealer, but people have a hard time figuring out who the reputable dealers actually are. It's not because people are stupid, it's because they're unsuspecting. They never stop to think that the person they're buying from is either a liar, or doesn't know what they're talking about. The bottom line is that they believe everything the seller says, even though that's the last person you want to trust.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about.
I read a story a while ago from a guy that was talking about his sports memorabilia experience. He bought a fake from a company that I'm sure you've heard of, Ebay. In his case, he found a dealer that he thought was reputable, and ended up getting ripped off. In this case, the buyer trusted a person that he shouldn't have because that person (like many others) knew how to manipulate the rankings on Ebay. It was a mistake that cost the buyer about 800 dollars (560 pounds).