Fighting flash fraud on Ebay

The authors of this blog want to elimnate flash fraud on Ebay

How people get away with flash fraud on ebay

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The flash memory sold by ebay fraudsters generally has a very much lower capacity than stated – sometimes as little as a sixteenth of that advertised. These drives have been programmed using the same tools as the manufactures use to program drives of genuine capacity. 1GB of flash memory can be programmed by fraudsters to appear to be 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or even higher capacities using these tools.

The cleverest of the fraudsters will only program drives to show about 4 times the real capacity – ensuring that most buyers will not suspect anything until they lose files months later. Even then people are inclined to suspect a problem with their computer rather than the flash drive.

Really stupid fraudsters (like one of those I bought from) may even send you flash that appears to be twice the capacity you bid on. If this happens – be on the alert immediately! No genuine seller is likely to send you a flash drive of twice the capacity you bid on by mistake – it’s almost sure to be fake capacity. This was among the things that first made me look at my drives more carefully and investigate the issue of flash capacity and whether I could check it more quickly than by copying very large files to the drive, which takes a long time.

I’m a very honest person and (had the drive been genuine) would have offered the seller an aditional payment to cover the extra cost of the larger drive that they sent by mistake. Turned out that the seller’s real mistake was not reprogramming it to the lower capacity, which might have fooled me until things went wrong and I’d probabably have been to late to get a refund.

When you look at the properties of flash memory on your computer (whether this is an SD card, MP3 player, USB flash pen/drive or whatever) it will appear to have the capacity it has been programmed to show. This is not necessarily the truth! Most people beleive what their computer tells them – but computers are not sentient beings – they are stupid machines that only do what sentient beings (people) have programmed them to do. Your computer has not been programmed to detect lies!

The easiest way to check whether or not what is shown by looking at the properties is correct is to download the free program h2tesw and use this to test the memory.

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Written by fightflashfraud

December 26, 2008 at 10:14 PM

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