Some Quick Tips To Help Avoid Fake Sd Cards/flash Media


Prometheus

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I posted this on the other forum in light of another recent thread, as the matter of fake SD Cards and USB flash drives is shockingly widespread. Anyone who follows SOSFakeFlash will likely know all of this (and probably more), but I just wanted to make a quick checklist available for reference.

For those unaware: Fake flash media is what you get when fraudsters sell flash memory that has had its controller hardware hacked in order to make it report a false size to the operating system. Which operating system makes no difference - because the controller itself is lying, it will fool any operating system. Sellers of this memory sometimes call it "upgraded", but it really is no such thing. Fake flash media often includes counterfeit flash media as well - fake-capacity flash drives and memory cards, which carry fake brand name labels and casings.

Some tips for avoiding fake flash media are as follows;

1: Avoid eBay. This cannot be stated enough. The majority of false capacity flash media is bought and sold here, and this is recorded as having been a problem on eBay since at least 2003, if not before. As a precautionary measure, you may also want to avoid third-party sellers who sell via sites such as Amazon and Play.com. Whilst many of these are honest businesses, there have been times when fakes have been sold via these facilities.

2: Snap yourself out of the mindset that fake flash media is in any way similar to fake handbags or the fake Nikes you saw at the Sunday market. Whilst fake handbags or fake shoes in some way perform as handbags and shoes would be expected to, fake flash media does not. Fake flash media lies about its capacity - what may be claiming to be 32GB, 64GB, 512GB, or any other size, is most likely actually only 64MB to 2GB in actual size, and likely to be made with unreliable parts, which in many cases may have been meant for destruction due to not being up to the required standards in the first place. You will never be able to trust these chips with your data - you are practically guaranteed to lose it.

3: Educate yourself as to what is a reasonable price. Whilst many people (sadly, incorrectly) believe that low prices on eBay are a result of "cutting out the middle-man", an unfortunately high number of people fall into the trap of believing one, or both, of two widespread myths. Myth one is "Companies make their products for small amounts and only charge high prices in order to rip us off.". Myth two is "Flash prices are always falling.". The profit margins on genuine flash media are actually quite slim unless you can move in high volumes, and the poor economy has hit flash manufacturers badly - for the last couple of years, prices have risen a number of times, and, more recently, stayed put for a little while (but soon began to rise again). You can get a handle on the spot prices for flash chips by looking here. Bear in mind that if you see Gb this means Gigabit, NOT Gigabyte (GB)! Likewise, Mb means Megabit, not Megabyte (MB). You must divide it by eight to get the size in GB or MB. Also note that some of the spot prices are for flash chips only - you also need to factor in the cost of casings, controller hardware, packaging, and so on. Regardless, this should help to give you a rough idea of what the retail price should be like. You can also look at the prices of a known-safe retailer of genuine goods to get an idea, too - Amazon UK and Play.com will give you this idea if you're from the UK, and I'm sure members from elsewhere can provide good companies to refer to for their respective countries, as well.

4: Because there is always a chance of fakes getting into even the best supply chain, regardless of where you buy your flash media you should always test your flash purchases with H2testw (a program for Microsoft Windows, which will also run via WINE on x86 Linux and probably via WINE on x86 Mac OS X as well), or its open source, command-line-based equivalent (currently only tested on Ubuntu), F3. (I don't have the know-how to see whether F3 can be made to run on the Pandora, but this may be worth a look for someone who can make it work. :p)

5: Beware of terms such as "upgraded"/"upgraded memory", and similar. These are, without exception, used by vendors of false-capacity flash media (often via wholesale sites that they are using to offer these items to resellers) to point out that the controller chips have been hacked to lie about the size of the flash chips they're coupled with.

6: Often, if the price seems too good to be true, it is! However, some vendors of fake flash media are cottoning on to this, and are charging real flash prices for their fake goods. If you think that £200 is a lot for a genuine flash drive, consider how much more it is for a fake!

7: Always use a credit card for flash media purchases, because credit card companies are more protective of their customers than some online payment services are.

8: If you somehow end up with a fake flash item, please report it to SOSFakeFlash, following their instructions carefully (bear in mind that they cover more than just eBay), and then fight for a refund. If you bought it on eBay and have already left positive feedback, DO NOT change your feedback in order to get a refund if your seller asks you to, because it will just invite others to be scammed in the same way as you were - moreover, this is feedback extortion, which I gather is against eBay's rules. Leave follow-up feedback instead, documenting the truth. If you can leave negative feedback, do so, and if you can mention the terms SOSFakeFlash and H2testw, your feedback may be able to guide more victims to resources that can help them.

I hope this post proves to be useful to someone. I wish the best of luck to all of you in avoiding this issue.

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with SOSFakeFlash, and have thankfully never fallen victim to this problem myself (thanks to the efforts of folks like them documenting it in the first place!). I am just a bystander who is disgusted by the notion of people having their hard-earned money ripped off in such a way.
 

Prometheus

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^ To repeat what I said on the other forum, you rule. :D Many thanks!
 

MichaelXX2

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Oh great. Now the internet card companies are figuring out ways to rip us off. Purchasing a card that doesn't have the correct amount of data in it is a slap in the face, and losing the data later is being pissed on. I'll be sure to warn people about buying thumb drives off the internet for sure.
 

Prometheus

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MichaelXX2 said:
Oh great. Now the flash media companies are figuring out bullsh$t ways to rip us off. Purchasing a card that doesn't have the correct amount of data in it is a slap in the face, and losing the data later is being pissed on.
I strongly suggest that you actually read what was written. :(
 
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MichaelXX2

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Prometheus said:
MichaelXX2 said:
Oh great. Now the flash media companies are figuring out bullsh$t ways to rip us off. Purchasing a card that doesn't have the correct amount of data in it is a slap in the face, and losing the data later is being pissed on.
I strongly suggest that you actually read what was written. :(
Oh, oops. I didn't clarify my post well.
 
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WizardStan

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I think you're taking it a little too personally. It's the internet equivalent of buying a watch from a guy in a trench coat. "Genuine Rolex!" he exclaims, even though it is but a 10th the cost of a real Rolex. But you get it home and after a few weeks it flakes, it rusts, it doesn't keep accurate time, and do you know why? Because it isn't a real Rolex! Guys in tench coats do not sell genuine Rolex's for 1/10 the cost, and ebay guy from Taiwan does not have a magic supply of 32GB cards at 4GB prices.
This is not internet card companies out to scam you, this is random dude with some counterfeit cards looking to make a quick buck before he's caught. If you stick to actual internet companies, legitimate stores, you are not likely to have a problem. Not likely I say because there have been instances where even the big names got duped and accidentally passed them along to their customers, but it wasn't intentional and certainly not likely to happen again.
 

Kangal

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I just posted this in another thread but I think it is more at home here.
(BTW I didn't read this thread/SOSFakeFlash before buying, I'm just naturally cautious and this time it paid off)

I just bought 2x microSD Class 6 cards with 32GB capacity. Need one for my SGS, and the other for my Milestone (brand new, a gift for my bro).
I bought both on eBay from a reputable seller with a 7day satisfaction guarantee. The member sells many things but has only recently started auctioning those items in bulk. I won the first two auctions at $66 and $71 respectively, the later one's went for $110 (ahahahaha).
Just got both Kingstong's yesterday and the first thing I did was fire up h2testw 1.4 ... and it turns out the cards are duds!

They have actual storage of <1Gb and the speeds achieved are barely Class 2. And also the packaging didn't have Kingsotng's authentic barcode nor the geniune front case. Even the cards had the "4" in a circle indicating Class 4, when the item is described as Class 6.

I notified seller (they may have been scammed too), they said they will refund my PayPal asap and wanted the items back. Sent them today, lets see what happens.

I thought since 32Gb is the highest limit on many devices, and Class 6 should cover me for a long time, it seemed like a good investment (buying several cards in a row becomes more costly me thinks).
Now how the hell am I going to find those cards again at a good price (both <$150 and I'm happy).
Any sources? Must ship to Australia.
 

Prometheus

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Kangal said:
I notified seller (they may have been scammed too), they said they will refund my PayPal asap and wanted the items back. Sent them today, lets see what happens.
It's unfortunate that you've shipped the cards out already, as they were your evidence.

Please look up your seller using SOSFakeFlash's search box - you may find that the return address isn't real, or that the cards are simply re-sold to someone else. Both such cases usually end without the victim getting a refund.

Of course, it could be a genuine seller who's gotten caught out, but I've seen so much of this that even I'm getting a bit skeptical nowadays, unfortunately. The warning signs to me are selling the cards in bulk (which is a very common tactic for vendors of fakes), a completely different sort of card being received, and them selling many other things but only recently starting to sell flash media (where vendors of fakes are concerned, this is usually a sign of building up a feedback profile in order to make it more difficult for them to be removed when they start selling fakes).
 
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Kangal

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Thanks MegamanPrometheus, just letting you know I got the refund and we mutually cancelled the transaction on eBay.
I was one of the luckier ones, and my pro-activeness actually (finally!) paid off for something.

I've submitted the data into SOSFake, and the buyer was very cooperative. Actually I wanted to know if the buyer would get the REAL cards and exchange them, and he said that was a bad idea because it would take ~2 weeks from his supplier and that I would have run off-time from his 7day-100%-satisfaction claim. So yeah, I was pro-active and he was cooperative and the issue sort of sorted itself... lucky.
What happened in my case, most likely, is that the (reputable) seller I bought from was scammed himself, and this can happen to even the reputable sellers (but less occurrence, becuase card testing really takes a long time) on places like Amazon.

But after this experience, I can't recommend anyone going through what I did.
The risk is too great for the little gain, even if you take precautious measures it will mean you will unnecessarily have wasted effort to get back to square one.
Go for real sellers (not 3rd party) through stores like Amazon (at least its reputable), and if the price is hard to believe, don't believe in the product.
 

Pleng

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Kangal said:
Thanks MegamanPrometheus, just letting you know I got the refund and we mutually cancelled the transaction on eBay.
I was one of the luckier ones, and my pro-activeness actually (finally!) paid off for something.

I've submitted the data into SOSFake, and the buyer was very cooperative. Actually I wanted to know if the buyer would get the REAL cards and exchange them, and he said that was a bad idea because it would take ~2 weeks from his supplier and that I would have run off-time from his 7day-100%-satisfaction claim.

Or more likely it would have put him out of pocket as he would have had to pay far more for genuine ones than he he does for his cheaper fakes.

Remember his 7 day 100% satisfaction claim is HIS claim. He has the right to extend it if he deems it necessary. Refunding the money to you is no skin of his nose if he is able to re-sell the cards to somebody else.


What happened in my case, most likely, is that the (reputable) seller I bought from was scammed himself

No, it is not the most likely scenario.
 
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neko

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Kangal said:
Thanks MegamanPrometheus, just letting you know I got the refund and we mutually cancelled the transaction on eBay.
I was one of the luckier ones, and my pro-activeness actually (finally!) paid off for something.

I've submitted the data into SOSFake, and the buyer was very cooperative. Actually I wanted to know if the buyer would get the REAL cards and exchange them, and he said that was a bad idea because it would take ~2 weeks from his supplier and that I would have run off-time from his 7day-100%-satisfaction claim. So yeah, I was pro-active and he was cooperative and the issue sort of sorted itself... lucky.
Those 1GB cards cost him what, probably less than $5. And he's selling them for $66-110?

Even if he has to refund most of them, it just takes one idiot to pay $110 and forget where he bought it to make it worthwhile.
 
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Prometheus

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We'll probably never really know the entirety of the circumstances regarding this particular incident.

Even though I find myself gradually getting more cynical regarding fake flash media, I think it's best to just let this one go now.

I'm glad that Kangal got a refund. :) Sadly, that still isn't as common as it should be.
 
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