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 How to Tell if Your Pokemon Cards are Fake 
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Since getting back into the TCG earlier this year, I've bought a lot of Pokemon cards. Most of them have been real, but there have been three lot auctions that I won which contained fake cards (two of them had only a few fakes out of hundreds of cards, but the third auction was 590 fakes out of 884 cards because the seller was a crazy bitch). You might be wondering "How can I tell if the cards I buy are real or fake?" Well, it's a good thing you asked, because Frost is feeling nice enough to impart his knowledge for spotting fake Pokemon TCG cards on everybody.

Rule 1: "Pokémon has an accent over the e"
My number-one litmus test to determine whether or not a card is fake is if it has an accent over the e when the word "Pokémon" is written on the FRONT of the card. This includes both as part of the Pokemon's species (e.g. Dewgong is listed as the "Sea Lion Pokémon") and in the flavor text for a Pokemon's attacks. When people create fake cards, they rewrite the card's text for some reason, and they almost never remember to add an accent to the e. So if you have a Togekiss card that lists Togekiss' species as the "Jubilee Pokemon," this card is fake. Note: the accent being over the Pokemon logo on the back of a card does not prove that a card is real.

Rule 2: "Spelling and grammatical errors only exist on fake cards"
This is closely related to Rule 1. For example, look at this Garchomp LV.X card that I unfortunately acquired:
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Do I even need to explain why this card is fake?

Grachomp LV.X is just the tip of the iceberg, though. In the auction I won from that crazy bitch, I also got a Latios card named "Lation" and several Luvdisc cards for which the species was listed as the "Rendevous pokkemon." In another one of my auctions, I got a Beautifly who "evolves from Sikoon" and whose attack forces its opponent to "switch 1 of his or her Bengched Pokemon." Legitimately misprint cards are extremely rare in the Pokemon Trading Card Game, and legitimate misprints will be reported on reliable Pokemon TCG sites. Pokemon cards never misspell the names of Pokemon or the name of the series' title (including forgetting the accent on the e). Check your cards carefully for English errors when you suspect they might be fake.

Rule 3: "A card is fake when it's supposed to be holographic but does not have holographic effects"
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This Rocket's Scyther ex is supposed to be a rare holographic card, but you can plainly see that it has no holographic effects in this picture. The worst offenders are cards that are supposed to be holographic cards but the person who scanned the card to fake it scanned in the holographic effects, producing a non-holo card that has impressions of static, holographic stars in its background (through this method I was able to tell that my first Togekiss card was actually a fake). Note, however, that there are a few exceptions to this rule because of the pre-packaged decks made by Wizards of the Coast or Nintendo. For example, I own a non-holographic version of the Great Encounters Porygon-Z card, which is usually a holo, but it was a legitimate card because a non-holo Porygon-Z is included in one of the official Great Encounters decks. Check deck listings for further special cases such as this one. Refer to this image to see what a picture of a real holographic card looks like (the Dewgong is a non-holo card).

Rule 4: "Fake cards are thinner and easier to bend"
This rule is pretty straightforward. If you suspect you have a fake card, grab a useless card that you are sure is real (for example, an energy card), and gently bend the card to check the card's durability. Then try to bend the fake card. Fake cards are made out of a flimsier cardboard than real cards.

Rule 5: "The font face is not consistent with a real card's"
Rule 6: "The energy symbols are not consistent with a real card's"
Rule 7: "The yellow borders are non-centered or crooked in a fake card"
Rule 8: "The coloring on the front of a fake card is darker than the real card's"

For the preceding rules, which are all straightforward, refer to this obviously fake Dusknoir card and Pokebeach's legit scan of the same card. Notice that the fake scan demonstrates rules 1-3 as well (e.g., static holographic symbols in the background of the card, the lack of an e and odd spacing in the species listing "Gripper Pokemon", the misspelling of Rhydon's name as "Rhyodn" and the fact that it says Dusknoir evolves from Rhydon in the first place).

Finally, we also have:
Rule 9: "The back of a fake card looks too light"
Although the back of a fake card has an accent over the e in the Pokemon logo, the back of a fake card should still be fairly obvious because it will have a too-bright, almost washed-out coloring. Again, take a known real card and compare the coloring on the back of the real card with the coloring on the back of the suspected fake card. Also, finally, another way you might be able to tell if a card is fake is if you hold the card up to the light and can see through the card.

It's an unfortunate but truthful fact that people out there still make fake Pokemon cards. Even if the card "looks" like a reverse holographic (although a highly crappy imitation of one) or it comes in a "sealed booster pack," your cards may still be fake. Use the preceding guidelines to figure out whether or not you've purchased fake cards online or in stores and then act accordingly. Good luck.


Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:45 pm
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Pokemon Ranger
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My sister got the exact same Exploud card out of a booster pack from Target, and it wasn't holographic. Does that mean anything? We've never gotten cards off the web, only from card stores and stores like Target, etc.

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Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:22 pm
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THE POWER IS ON!
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Uh... oops. That Exploud card in my picture is actually a non-holo rare. I would guess that it's probably a real card, but do check to make sure there's an accent on the e in the species box under Exploud's picture.


Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:06 pm
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Pokemon Ranger
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Thanks, and yes I checked, it is authentic. And, I didn't think it wasn't real because she got it at Target.

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Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:11 pm
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Frost, another way to tell is if it has an insane number of hit points. Like an 800 HP Magneton.

EDIT: Or if it gets the Species wrong. I have 2 Piloswine cards that call it the 'Tiny Mouse Pokémon" and it's the 'Swine Pokémon'


Sat May 30, 2009 10:58 am
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Thanks Frost, I happened to go into a dollar store a couple months ago and bought 5 packages of cards for $5. They were in legit packages so i figured, "there's no way these could be fake." Guess what? Rules 1,4,5,6,7, and 8 were true for 90% of them and the other 10% were Uxie Level X's, no lie. I have like, 6. I plan to edit this with some more info in the morning. Thanks for confirming my fears though.

EDIT: Alright, so among my fake cards were two "Groduon"s, a Seaking, which was number 171, not 117, and an "Omatras" (Omastar). These were the worse, but they were all fake, the back color was way off and the border was weirdly placed.

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Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:27 pm
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Ace Trainer
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I've seen many fakes, where the borders of the back of the card (the blue ones) are darker than usual. You should always look the back of the card. Then ofcourse slippery surface, thin cards, cards that are not right size and so-on.

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Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:03 am
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one thing you forgot frost is that some fake cards say hp# instead of #hp like real cards do.


Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:23 am
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one of my claydol cards says "No. 244 " when he's supposed to be No. 344 and has the info for vibrava: "It violently shudders it's wings, generating ultrasonic waves to induce headaches in people.".

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:41 am
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i got a whole deck of cards from some guy at the wisconsin state fair and the first card i saw was a Mareep speeled like this Msreep and it had 200 hp that is defenitely fake

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:33 am
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I bought some cards I know were fake for refence and they were ALL bent and Super Holographic even a Magikarp


Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:24 pm
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Some of my pokemon cards have HP written smaller then the number. (HP #) But everything else on the card is correct. Does that mean they're fake then?


Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:29 pm
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Beav232 wrote:
Frost, another way to tell is if it has an insane number of hit points. Like an 800 HP Magneton.

EDIT: Or if it gets the Species wrong. I have 2 Piloswine cards that call it the 'Tiny Mouse Pokémon" and it's the 'Swine Pokémon'


I have the same problem! I have an 11000 HP Volcanora. And it has typos... Like "A sea offire", and the card itself is blurred... I got several others, like a 5000 Piplup that is "Apoorwalker"... :lol:

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Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:31 pm
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