Fighting flash fraud on Ebay

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

Top rated UK ebay seller continues listings of fake capacity flash

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We first posted about ukbargainstores on September 10th 2009. When we first posted about this seller we thought that ukbargainstores might be an innocent victim of a fraudulent supplier. Developments since then suggest that top rated ebay seller ukbargainstores is actually a determined fraudster, rather than a victim of fraud.

Having learned about the test program h2testw the seller began using screenshots of what the program shows BEFORE THE TEST BEGINS to “prove” the capacity of the flash drives. The fact is that such a screenshot does not prove the actual capacity of a drive! All it proves is the capacity reported by the control chip to the operating system.

What ukbargainstores does not know is that the screenshot from h2testw (in a listing by this seller we looked at) actually demonstrates that the flash drive is fake without it even being tested!! The screenshot shows what a user will see in h2testw before running the test – what the control chip says. We are not going to help fraudsters out by explaining why the screenshot demonstrates the flash drive is fake!

Control chips can be programmed to show any (aproximate) fake capacity the programmer wants it to show. This is not the actual capacity of the flash drive – this is shown at the END of the test NOT BEFORE!

We have a few words to say to seller ukbargainstores. Some of the flash drives sold are very obvious fakes and have NEVER proved to have a capacity above 8GB but programmed to show 16GB, 32GB and higher. Others have been known counterfeits (fake brand name drives) – also known to have fake capacity. The issue is not just (as communication with the seller seems to indicate that ukbargainstores thought) copyright – there is a far bigger issue here.

The reason we have a big problem with ukbargainstores is that eventually (as far as we can see) all those who bought USB flash drives from this seller will end up with lost and corrupted data. The files anyone saved to flash drives from ukbargainstores (photos, videos, spreadsheets, databases or whatever) will either vanish altogether or become corrupted after a time.

Members of the frankenflash project (a worldwide team of ebay members trying to end the scourge of fake flash memory) include a number of highly skilled and knowlegable IT professionals including programmers, engineers and others with expertise in various areas. The flashfraud team is a small part of this worldwide alliance which (like other teams in the frankenflash project) concentrates on particular areas of work. This is reflected in the different balance of information on each blog.

Readers can see from the comments on our original post that the seller was in contact with members of the fightflashfraud team through this blog as well as having been contacted through ebay messaging about his fake flash drives. Here is a link to the original post:

We advise everyone who buys flash memory items to test them with the free program h2testw irrespective of where they were purchased – otherwise you run the risk of data loss and corruption.

Report in to SOSFakeFlash if your testing confirms you have purchased a false capacity device on ebay.

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