Fighting flash fraud on Ebay

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

Looks like another fake 32GB USB flash drive on ebay to us

with 5 comments

Seems that another ebay member from Korea has been shopping in fake flash land. The buy it now price for this 32GB USB flash drive is impossibly low – the flash memory chips alone would cost more than this. There is therefore no doubt that this USB flash drive is a fake that will corrupt files.

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 your fake if testing confirms you have purchased fake capacity flash memory on ebay.

Written by fightflashfraud

January 18, 2010 at 11:45 PM

5 Responses

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  1. Hi ITGuy,

    Actually our team have seen a couple of fakes with unpopulated sockets. We have also seen empty space in cases where the circuit board should have been longer!

    You are absolutely right in saying that trying to repair fakes is a waste of time and energy.

    You might as well try to turn an old string vest that is falling apart into a nice new warm wooly jumper!

    fightflashfraud

    January 31, 2010 at 7:48 PM

  2. To Ken,

    If you open up the drive you will most likely find a simple printed circuit board with two chips. You most likely will not find any unpopulated sockets. There are a number of internet blogs with pictures of the insides of fake usb drives. You may want to do some google searches. One blog that comes to mind is http://www.myblog.bloggybloggy.com/category/fake-usb-key/

    These fakes are created by modifying the programming (firmware and metadata) on the flash drive. To do this takes some (insider) knowledge of how the chips are programmed and access to software tools required to reprogram the device.

    Some of the techniques involved in reprogramming the flash drives involve disabling error handling. This is why I would not bother repairing the drives – it is not worth the risk of losing data.

    The best tool for testing drives is h2testw and since, currently, most of the fake drives have a real capacity of less the 4GB a partial test of 8GB should confirm that the drive is a fake and a full time consuming test is not required.

    NB: The HP tool is not a reliable method of repairing fake flash drives.

    ITGuy

    January 31, 2010 at 7:33 PM

  3. Hi Ken,

    Hope you don’t mind but we inserted some paragraph breaks in your first comment as it was solid text and rather difficult to read.

    We’d be interested in your findings when you open some of your fakes. Several of us have done this and have often found that the chip information you find on memory chips and control chips in genuine flash drives had been removed.

    Further investigation revealed that the chips were mostly of under 4GB capacity and very poor quality – not worth the effort of trying to rescue as (even if restored to their original capacity) they could fail at any moment.

    fightflashfraud

    January 31, 2010 at 4:50 PM

  4. One more point, NONE of the sellers included any paperwork or any references to the ebay item numbers purchased. Not only that, the ones advertised at being a 5 year warranty, and ‘Made in Japan’, are also fakes, no matter what the sellers say.

    Ken Rogers

    January 31, 2010 at 4:14 PM

  5. Didn’t realize that there were so many fake flash drives being sold. In December 2009, I bought at least seven of these drives on mostly 64GB capacity as intended gifts for others.

    Not one single drive tested out to the capacity it reported. Many were very slow in writing, so testing sometimes took well over 20 hours to complete. One seller was also offering 240GB drives, with the sale of a 64GB, and the 240GB took 38 hours to show its failures.

    The drives not only came from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, but also from several US vendors who got badly burned as well. After purchasing these, several dealers were quickly pulled off eBay. It took nearly two months, and some returns, but at least PayPal has been helful in getting my money back.

    I had brands marked Sony, in fancy metal boxes, Kingston, and Samsung, as well as many other no name brands. After all of this mess, I have contacted eBay advising that they block all venders attempting to sell these drives on eBay.

    Interesting point to note, that I had bought a single 32GB drive from a US based PC parts seller, and that one actually tested out nearly to its whole capacity. It was also quite fast in writing data compared to the fakes.

    It was from Unity, and they dont seem to be offering these anymore either. I also sent them several emails, but they have not replied. One US seller of these asked me if there was a simple solution to the fake capacity issues, but knowing these as I now do, I doubt if any of them would ever be repairable, or reprogrammed.

    They are simply using chips that are not fully functional and error free. Even for that, I plan to open a few of them to see what is actually inside, and I expect empty places in there where chips should be, but are not populated.

    If you get these and test them, be sure to let others know of this issue, especially eBay. They now have several formal complaints that I have filed. I also used a program offered by HP to assist in formatting these drives from NTFS or FAT32, or simply FAT.

    The format program will not detect any errors, but is an easy way to ensure that any data that may be on these is removed. I also used another testing program which offered similar results. Simply doing ‘properties’, will not give accurate capacity. I also tried checking a few with SCANDISK to see if they can be marked for the bad areas, but to no avail.

    Ken Rogers

    January 31, 2010 at 4:12 PM


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