Anthony Kuo (949) 378-4580
Introduces Bill to Protect Consumers from Forged Signatures
SACRAMENTO – Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) today announced the introduction of legislation to protect consumers who are the victims of forged autographs. In some memorabilia markets, forged signatures make up over half of the supply – making it all too easy for consumers to be defrauded. Assembly Bill 1570 will put safeguards in place as well as provide civil recourse for buyers of autographs.
“The amount of fake autographs on the market is astonishing,” said Assemblywoman Chang. “It’s really sad when you see people, especially children, become the victims of forgeries. The illegal practice is really out of control.”
PSA/DNA, JSA, and other professional authenticators evaluate hundreds of thousands of autographs annually worldwide, and often determine the signatures to be forged. According to industry experts, the rejection rate can reach over 50% of submitted items for the more prominent names, including Neil Armstrong, Michael Jackson, and others. For example, experts estimate that only 94 percent of all autographed Beatles memorabilia is forged, as are 76 percent of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley collectibles.
In the last twenty years, the FBI instituted two major investigations uncovering millions in forged sports, entertainment and historical autographed memorabilia – both cases involved operations in California. During the most recent investigation, the FBI estimated forged memorabilia “comprises between $500,000,000 and $900,000,000” of the overall billion dollar market.
“Because anyone can make a signature, we need to have a system in place to prevent that from happening,” added Chang. “And with the new Star Wars movie breaking historical records for sales and popularity, it is going to drive the number of fake autographs even higher.”
In fact, Star Wars icon Mark Hamill recently took to Twitter to tell fans which of their signed collectibles were forged and which were genuine.
AB 1570 will require dealers of any signed memorabilia to provide a certificate of authenticity upon sale of the autograph. The bill will also provide victims of forged memorabilia with civil recourse including ten times the amount of actual damages. Current law already protects consumers in the narrow case of sports related memorabilia.