Tuff Stuff Hobby Watchdog warns of new pack searching scam

Ever since the advent of jersey cards in products, people have been there trying to beat the system while opening packs. These morally deceptive people have camped out at retailers across the country with their system, all with the goal of finding jersey and auto cards without ever opening the pack. These “pack searchers” have become some of the most hated people in the hobby, and have made buying loose retail packs for hits an unwinnable venture.

After obtaining these searched packs, they often sell them on eBay as “hot packs,” or packs of product for sale with guaranteed hits inside. Collectors often buy the packs expecting a chance at a nice card, but usually end up with nothing more than a plain jersey card. It’s unethical, damaging, and underhanded, despite the fact that manufacturers have used decoy cards to try and fend them off. As the companies have started to clearly label their retail packs, coupled with the decreasing value of plain jersey cards, pack searchers have diminished in numbers. It doesn’t stop people from trying their hand at it, but really, it’s not as much of a problem as it used to be.

There is one thing I saw recently that made me cringe, and that is the number of sellers out there who flat out cheat buyers who don’t know the logistics of the practice. Recently, an auction was posted, featuring the claim that the hot pack for sale contained a 1-of-1 superfractor out of 2009 Topps Chrome Football. Superfractors are extremely valuable for top-tier rookies and players, and are some of the most sought after cards in the hobby. Every red flag I had in place started to go off in my head, and rightfully so.

For those of you who have opened the packs of this product, it’s no surprise that this is a completely impossible claim to make. A superfractor is physically impossible to search out in an unopened pack, as the card features no discernable difference from the regular cards. They are not thicker, they don’t weigh more, and they are not a guaranteed hit in any box. Therefore, any claim that any unopened pack contains one, is 100 perecent false.

Of course, because not everyone is familiar with these facts, there are bidders on the pack, which will likely sell upwards of $100. I feel horrible for the winning bidder, because whoever buys the pack will end up with a superfractor that isn’t worth anything, out of a pack that has been opened and resealed. The seller has opened the pack, saw that the superfractor was probably a cheerleader card or lower-tier player, glued the pack shut, and is selling it under the suspicion that the sale will get him more money.

Don’t fall for this scam.

The easiest way to punish any scam artist is to not buy into the scam, especially when there are very few avenues to take corrective action on this person. The seller’s pack will deliver what it says, but only because the person has advanced knowledge of what is going to come out of the pack. It’s completely unethical and unfair to the buyer, and I recommend never trusting anything you can’t verify with 100 percent certainty.

Personally, I would avoid "hot packs" all together, even if the sale seems legit. It encourages cheating, and provides funds for people who do not deserve them. You will never make back your money, and the risk will never be worth the reward.

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