Fighting flash fraud on Ebay

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

Very curious listings for Kingston flash drives on ebay

with one comment


Recently Kingston and other manufacturers have been gradually discontinuing lower capacity flash drives as consumer demand moves towards higher capacities. The drive shown in listings by UK seller amadiokpo seem to show one such drive -except we think it is probably not a genuine Kingston.

The model in question has always been colour coded according to capacity. Genuine USB flash drives of this type with green parts were 2GB – lower capacities were different colours. Kingston have discontinued all flash drives in this range below 4GB.

Fraudsters in China mass produced copies of the green and white 2GB model and programmed them to show all sorts of fake capacities from 16GB to 64GB. These dangerous fakes have been sold through fraudulent wholesalers for a long time.

They were also sold on ebay (either by fraudsters in China or by ebay members around the world who bought from fraudulent wholesalers) for a long time. Indeed, they still crop up on ebay occasionally at high fake capacities.

The green and white model is now (like the lower capacity blue and white and brown and white) consigned to Kingston history. We should not see too many ebay listings for these as 8GB, 16GB or higher in future. Now to the interesting bit!

How did UK ebay member amadiokpo come to list these as 265mb and 16GB as well as what one would expect (2GB) if they were genuine old 2GB Kingston stock being cleared out? No doubt members of the fightflashfraud team and other branches of the frankenflash project will already have guessed our thoughts!

At a guess it goes like this. The fraudsters in China were left with a mass of counterfeit drives of this type that had programmed to fake capacities left on their hands. They obviously could not get away with selling them as high capacity drives anymore – too many people knew the truth. What to do now??

Obvious – re-program them (yet again) but to a much lower capacity. However – each time a drive is reprogrammed in this way the fraud will be discovered sooner as the illusion of higher capacity becomes more difficut to maintain.

Only one way to go – program them much closer to the the true reamaining useable capacity (or even the actual remaining useable capacity) and get rid of them in bulk. What do we conclude – that these drives will have a short life although initially it may be possible to save close to the advertised capacity on them.

We think the drives may well be useable for small files you want to access elswhere (such as a word document that you want to access or print out on different computers when you are on the move) in the short term as long as you have the files backed up elsewehere – but we wouldn’t trust them with anything important!

We’d be interested to know if our conclusions prove correct.

We hope the seller and/or buyers test them with h2testw and let us know what they found.

Written by fightflashfraud

September 15, 2009 at 9:00 AM

One Response

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  1. Great info. Great blog. All the best.


    September 16, 2009 at 5:33 AM

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