There is a new warning out about buying online.
Sometimes a "rare" find also turns out to be a fake.
Truman Capote, James Michener, and John Grisham are all authors whose works would seem to be perfect additions to a book collection. However in this case, they were at the heart of more than just books.
U.S. Postal Inspector Al Herzog says, "The suspect worked this scheme by purchasing unsigned first edition
antiquarian books on Ebay. He then forged the signatures of famous authors and resold them on Ebay for much higher prices."
One photo shows more than 450 stamps used to create near perfect signatures.
"Took the actual genuine samples of the authors signatures took them to a local stamp company and had actual stampers made so the stampers could be used to mass produce the fraudulent autographs."
Book prices ranged from $50 to $1,000 each depending on the author and book.
Buyers, skeptical of the signature, began complaining to postal inspectors who started checking the defendant's background.
"We made some purchases of our own - and eventually we were able to obtain a search warrant and that's how we were able to obtain the heat stampers."
If you are buying rare items or memorabilia online, exercise caution.
Postal Inspectors recommend always using credit cars, not debit cards, for online purchases. Credit cards offer dispute rights, making it easier to reverse a fraudulent charge, whereas using a debit card can instantly clean out your checking account.
And, always research the seller.
"In this instance, the defendant was one person operating out of his home, there was no business, no licenses, there was no reputation if you will in the antiquarian book business."
The defendant in this case was sentenced to more than two years in prison and ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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