Buybacks suck when it comes to the real/fake debate. Don’t let yourself think any differently, no matter how legit they seem. Its one thing if they are the 20th anniversary Ken Griffey Jr buybacks from Upper Deck with a matching COA, but its another thing if it’s a random Pujols card. Topps and Upper Deck spent a lot of time coming out with buyback auto cards over the last decade, and it has led to people trying to take advantage of those cards more than anything. It is too easy to fake them because the cards werent autoed when they were first released. Scammers pull any card they can find out of their common box, sign the front, put a peeled sticker from another card on the back, and call it a day. If they have honed their trade, they get one of the topps uncirculated holders and use that to give it more "legitimacy." Don’t fall for it.
The main target of many of the fake buyback sellers is 2006 Bowman Originals, a product based solely on thee cards. In this high end product, Topps bought some good cards and some really crappy cards and had them resigned by players like David Wright, Pujols, and others. They put out boxes with one buyback auto per pack, and sold them at a ridiculous price for people who wanted to own the "original" cards signed by those players. There were two main problems with this set, primarily stemming from the way it was produced. First, for every one of the great players that graced this product, there were 20 that werent so great. In fact, the Wrights and Pujolses were numbered low enough that they became very valuable to player collectors who wanted a shot at them. This led to the second problem, stemming from the hand numbering of the cards. Because Topps hand numbered each of the cards in this set instead of serially numbering them, it was easy to see where scammers would have a field day. Topps also failed to provide a COA or foil stamp on the cards, which means that the uncirculated holder was the only thing standing between a scammer and the buyback gold.
Now that you have the background, it should be clear why you SHOULD NOT buy a buyback auto unless you are 100% sure it is real. That means a correct price, a well regarded seller, and a history check on the auto/card/seller itself. Compare and contrast with similar cards, study the makeup of the set, and try to determine a reason why it would be real. Approach guilty until proven innocent, because I have yet to see anything convincing to show me that buybacks are actually worth my time.
Here are some obvious fakes and the way scammers get you. I even saw a topps holder on a UD card once. Yes, they are that dumb sometimes.
Bowman Heritage Albert Pujols - Umm no. This card has a sig that isnt even close, and the fact that it’s a jersey card from Hertiage proves its fake status. He also has sold a few fake SPA patches in the last few months as well.
UD Masterpieces Ken Griffey Jr - Fake sticker, fake buyback, everything about this card is wrong. All buybacks feature on card signatures with few exceptions. This is not one of those exceptions. Plus, this card is pretty damning evidence to boot.
Tiger Woods Upper Deck Golf - Same seller, same result. These arent even close. Why even waste your time?
Basically, so many of the buybacks are too close to call, so it may be better to just avoid them. This is especially true if the player is high prestige. Although people have wised up, a lot of others have not. There are a lot of collectors obsessed with cards like this, and it continues to make demand high. My advice, just walk away and buy a nice version of another type of auto you know is real.