Fighting flash fraud on Ebay

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

Would you trust this ebay seller? We certainly wouldn’t!

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UK selller evals69 has sold a large number of “used” 4GB Kingston flash drives in bulk lots (and a smaller number of 8GB ones both in bulk lots and individually) on ebay.

The seller’s pictures of the two drives in question are shown on the left. The top one is the 8GB model and the bottom one is the 4GB model. We got a strange smell coming from this seller’s listings so we investigated a bit – here’s what we found:

The first sale made seems to have been for a job lot – 20 of the 4GB flash drives. The seller’s explanation for a bulk listing of 20 used 4GB would seem plausible at first glance, but read on to learn more.

In the listing for the first sale (item number 370330994917 – bulk lot of 20 4GB drives sold for £70 with free P&P on February 6th) the seller said:

I have 20 used USB sticks for sale. These were used only once, literally to distribute promotional content to some of our clients. They downloaded the info and sent them back. They have all been formatted and are 100% good as new. These were bought at £8.00 per USB, so grab yourself an absolute bargain here!

Sounds perfectly reasonable on the surface, does it not? However our team are mostly IT professionals who have worked in a number of different settings and we did wonder why (rather than, as most companies would do) this seller’s company did not buy low cost flash drives of a smaller capacity and let the customers keep them. Were their promotional files videos? That seemed to be the only possible answer, as we could not think of any other promotional data that would need 4GB of space.

However – in a later listing for a job lot of 10 4GB drives (Item number: 370332181851) the seller said:

You are looking at a JOB LOT of 10 4GB USB Flash Drives. I had to buy 200 sticks for a massive project, they were used only once, literally to distribute promotional content to some of our clients. The files were downloaded and the drives were returned as per our request. They have all been formatted and are 100% good as new. These were bought at £8.00 per USB, so in order to retrieve some of the revenue spent, I’m selling them off in batches of 10 at half the price! These are basically brand new drives, don’t miss a golden opportunity. If you are not happy with them, I am more than willing to give you a full refund upon return.

Our investigations reveal that evals69 has sold no fewer than 408 of the 4GB drives – over twice the number stated in this listing. HMM… either this seller’s arithmetic is extremely poor or…

Then, of course, there are the 8GB drives – looks like 37 have been sold to date and there are 2 listings still live as I write – item nos 370340483758 (lot of 5) and 370340483171 (lot of 10) – the thoughts of our team are summed up neatly by the picture on the right.

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

February 25, 2010 at 1:44 AM

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