How Do You Know if a Pokemon Card is Fake?

The Most Common Indicators of Forgery

With any valuable collectible, there always lurks the dark Spectrier of forgery. Counterfeiting is unfortunately an enormous sub-business. And this is true for everything from fine art and decor to, yes, you guessed it: fake Pokemon cards.

If you’re like us, you want to make sure that your Pokémon TCG deck is legit. After all, we’re not card hunting simply to carry around a bunch of Knock-Offs!

Collectors worth their salt should audit their pulls from time to time to ensure they’re holding the real deal. But how do you know if your collection has any fake Pokemon cards? Let’s break down the most common card design elements. These Gastly mistakes will tell you if your Pokemon card is less Delphox and more Delfaux.

Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

Aside from the gorgeous original artwork and the helpful ARG stats, Pokemon cards contain a lot of printed text. This includes everything from the Ability and Attack descriptions to the paragraph of flavor text in the lower right.

And with all of that text comes the opportunity for a counterfeiter to make a mistake. Sometimes it might be as simple and obvious as misspelling a Pokémon’s name (“Ninetales” vs. “Ninetails,” for instance). But sometimes, it may be that a counterfeiter has misused punctuation, added extra spaces between sentences, or made other subtle errors.

You can generally guarantee that officially-produced Pokémon cards are going to be free of errors. But fakers are much less concerned about product quality.


Skeptical woman looking through a magnifying glass

Printing Errors

Graphic designers know about concepts like crops and bleeds, but most average folks don’t. And counterfeiters are counting on that. However, you don’t need to be a design expert to know when something feels off to the naked eye.

Take a look at your card in question. Is the border around the backside centered or off-center? Are any words on the front of your card a little too close to the edge? Does it look like the card was hastily cut?

If so, it’s very likely that you’re holding a dud.

Incorrect Foiling

One of the classic counterfeit moves is to add foiling to the design. After all, many of the rare and sought after cards are holo cards. And counterfeiters surely want to create the cards most likely to fetch a high price, right?

But the thing most counterfeiters may not know is not every Pokémon card comes in a holo variant. And some cards only come in a foiled variant. When in doubt about whether you’re holding fake Pokemon cards vs real ones, check the official card database.

Paper Differences

Pokémon cards are printed on very specific paper stock. That’s why even with the release of a new expansion or series, card elements are consistent for:

  • the size
  • the weight, and
  • the thickness.

Counterfeiters don’t always get those elements perfect with every print. Our recommendation is, with each new pull, compare your new cards to others in your deck. If the physicality of the card is even a little off, it might be worth giving an official check.

There are countless other elements that are a dead giveaway for Braviary-eyed collectors or trainers. But sometimes, even appraisers can have a hard time judging if Pokemon cards are fake or real. The reality is you need to trust the source of your cards in the first place.

At Lightning Card Collection, we do not deal in fake Pokemon cards. Nor do we deal with sellers or fake Pokémon cards. Every one of the card packs and card collections we sell contain 100% genuine cards. Visit our authentic Pokémon card product vault and catch 'em all today!