How to Know if a Pokemon Card Is Fake? 6 Ways to Spot Counterfeits

It’s your first time collecting Pokemon cards, so you tried buying some packs online or in some shady-looking store. Upon opening the booster packs, you realize that there’s something weird with the cards.

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Something doesn’t feel right.

Since you intend to start your collection with authentic and high-valued cards, you might be wondering:

“How to know if a Pokemon card is fake?”

If this is what’s happening with you right now, chances are, you have been ripped off.

Spotting the differences between real cards and fake cards is a must-have skill for every Pokemon TCG enthusiast.

Fortunately, here is a list of telltale signs that you can use as a basis to detect fake cards and save you from wasting time and money:

How to know if a pokemon card is fake

How to Know If a Pokemon Card Is Fake?

Information and Spelling Errors

With all of the available information on the Internet, it’s now easier to find out if your card has some typo errors in it. Look for a card’s legitimate image online and compare it to the ones you have.

A fake card will likely have a spelling mistake on its name, as well as the text on its moves and abilities.

Take a look at this Redditor’s Skarmory card, which was misspelled as “Skarmoty:”

Information and spelling errors - skarmory card

Errors in the Pokemon name, HP, and card number may also be present in a fake card. For instance, this error card has an image of a Pikachu, but the name says Raikou.

Error card pikachu

Creators of Pokemon TCG cards are very strict when it comes to the quality control of their cards, so having minor printing errors like typos is only for fake Pokemon cards.

Sketchy-Looking Box

Makers of counterfeit cards are trying their best to imitate the boxes of genuine cards. These fake Pokemon booster boxes are also sealed, but their ruse remains evident with the boxes’ design and cardboard quality.

A real Pokemon TCG booster box’s plastic seal will always have some Pokeball symbols with registered trademarks (®) on the Pokemon texts’ upper right corner:

Real pokemon box
credit: tcgDreamland

Fake Pokemon booster boxes, on the other hand, can still have the Pokeball symbols without the registered trademarks:

Sketchy-looking box
credit: tcgDreamland

Another sign of a fake Pokemon booster box is having cards that are not included in its respective set.

Check which set or expansion a Pokemon booster box belongs to and look for an official card list on Google.

Jagged Edges on Booster Packs

Jagged edges on booster packs

If the edges of a booster pack, specifically the part where you rip it open to see its contents are jagged, it is likely fake.

Authentic Pokemon booster packs don’t have jagged edges, and instead will have simple straight edges with little to no air inside.

Authentic pokemon booster packs

Washed Out Color at the Card’s Back

Washed out color at the card’s back
credit: WATM

The very familiar Pokeball at the back of every Pokemon card may also give a hint about its authenticity.

Check if the back of your card has the following:

  • Off-centered design
  • Lighter shade of blue
  • Blurred image of the Pokeball
  • Washed out color, especially on the card’s blue border

Having at least one of the signs above indicates that you have a counterfeit card.

The Rip Test

The rip test is a popular way among TCG collectors to see if their Pokemon cards are made by fraudsters.

If you are willing to sacrifice a card in a pack to know the truth, this is a straightforward resolve on how to know if a Pokemon card is fake.

Manufacturers of genuine Pokemon cards revealed that a card is composed of two cardboards and in between them is a black layer.

All you have to do is take a card (make sure it’s a common one) and rip it in half.

You should see a black or grayish layer in the ripped edges of a real card:

The rip test

Fake Pokemon cards are usually made up of one layer of low-quality cardboard or paper, so you might see nothing but white on its edges after ripping:

The rip test - fake card
credits: TapLab

The Bend Test

The bend test
credits: Mavin

Like the rip test, this way of knowing how to know if a Pokemon card is fake requires damaging a card, so take caution before trying this out.

Use your thumb and index finger to hold the upper and lower edges of a card and apply pressure to it. Bend the card but don’t let it fold in half.

Release the pressure after a few seconds, and if it is easy for the card to get back to its original shape, it is definitely made from high-quality cardstock and therefore, real.

In a Nutshell

Emulating the features of authentic cards in Pokemon TCG is not an easy task. Fortunately, the signs listed in this article only require keen eyes and sampling a low-valued card to confirm whether it is real or not.

When in doubt, always trust what your guts tell you.

If you bought booster packs at a ridiculously low price, or something is too good to be true, you better question its authenticity so you won’t be buying anything from the same seller again.

Was this article helpful to you? For more guides, and features about Pokemon Trading Card Game, you can read more of our contents here on Pokemoncoders:

About Celsos

Celsos is a dedicated writer who's all about Pokémon TCG. With tons of experience playing the game and a massive card collection, Celsos is a go-to guy for all things Pokémon TCG. He brings his love and knowledge of the game to create engaging articles that fellow Pokémon fans will enjoy.

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