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The Anatomy of a Social Media Murder

The most recent rendition of Hobby Drama occurred last week, developing deliciously and starring a prominent figure in the Hobby. 


It started with an X account (formerly Twitter), @norcal_collects, taking to social media complaining about PSA refusing to grade a 2013 Marvel Fleer Retro Spider-Man PMG Red. PSA flagged it as fake. 


As I’ll refer to him in the article, Norcal alleged he pulled the card straight out of a pack and had been in storage for years. He followed up by writing, “SGC, here I come.”



At first glance, it seemed like a legitimate gripe. A poor guy had sent a pack-pulled card, and PSA not only didn’t grade it but also said it was a fake. How many people would have the gall to call out PSA with a fake card? 


We soon found out because about an hour after the original post, Nat Turner, the CEO of Collectors, the parent company of PSA, entered the fray. First, he retorts, “By pack pulled do you mean you bought on Etsy?”


After a little digging, you realize that Turner is referencing an Etsy account selling fake Spider-Man Marvel cards serial numbered 001/100. Turner provides scans of the phony card taken by PSA . 


Norcal replies his card is numbered 12/100. Turner says that the Red PMG #12/100 was already graded by PSA about two years ago. On top of that, Turner provided scans of the original #012/100 along with scans of the fake 001/100.


When another X user asks Norcal to show pictures of the back of his PMG to prove he has the #012/100, he says he can’t because it was already sent to SGC. 


Turner replies, “Of course it was.” What is happening becomes obvious, and X users following the thread were delighted.


 


Within a few minutes, the @norcal_collects account is deleted. It was stunning. But most notable was that Turner was willing to engage with a fraudster with irrefutable evidence.


For a few minutes, Turner was just another guy on X using logic, evidence, and the right amount of sarcasm to blow up a scammer’s social media account into oblivion. This was a win for the good guys. 


But in a plot twist, Norcal also has an Etsy page with some, well, interesting cards. Check out this Luka Doncic card on the Etsy page, without a hint that it is not authentic except for the “Handmade” item detail. 


  


Norcal is Still Scamming

Norcal is continuing his scam. His Etsy page still exists where, among other things, he’s selling a Michael Jordan rookie card in what appears to be a fake BCCG slab with a 10 grade. 



I’m no expert, but the back of the label is a major red flag. 


He had it listed for $3,375. I did what anyone would do (right?) and messaged him about the card, asking if the card should be listed for more and if that was a real Beckett slab.  


Note the account image. He also ships from Cottonwood, CA.



He responded, “You're right, it should be higher in price lol I need to talk to my employee that put these listings up. Thanks for the heads up!”


He raised the card’s price to $7,500, saying, “Yeah it was supposed to be listed at 7500, my employee entered it wrong lol.” 


Norcal continues, saying he purchased the card on eBay in November and sent me the link. Interestingly, the eBay seller he bought from, dusty_hoarder, has the same account image as Norcal’s Etsy account. 


 


The eBay page states that shipping is from Cottonwood, CA. Norcal’s Etsy page also ships from Cottonwood, CA. This means he’s creating fake sales on eBay to use as comps when peddling his counterfeit cards. 


Same shipping address and same account image? Something’s not right.


I pretended to be interested in the card, saying I was buying it for my mom who wanted to get it as an anniversary present for my dad. I asked him if he would sell it to me for $3,800, but he wanted $4,200.


I asked him again if he was sure the card and slab were authentic. 


He replied, “The card is authentic and everything checks out as far as my knowledge goes. I bought it on eBay as I showed in the picture, which you can lookup in the sold listings, and it went thru ebays [sic] authentication guarantee before I received it.” 


The kicker is that he sent me additional images of the card that were noticeably different from the Jordan card in his listing. He’s using fake BCCG slabs with serial number 0009444257 to sell fake Fleer Jordan rookies. 


At that point, I stopped messaging him. He messaged me a few hours later, “Still interested?” I will reply to him shortly. It’s important to call out these scammers because they are criminals who steal people’s money, drive people away from the Hobby, and ruin the reputation of the industry we love. 


We’re lucky that Norcal is not a sophisticated scammer. He’s sloppy; anybody who has spent time with cards can see it. The scary part is that more sophisticated scammers are out there, selling fake and altered cards to seasoned veterans.  


As for Norcal, my next message to him will be:


“I am interested! But one more thing: you're not the same guy that was dunked on by Nat Turner on Twitter for trying to pass off a fake 2013 Marvel Fleer Retro Red PMG to PSA and then saying you would send it to SGC? Right?” 


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