Fighting flash fraud on Ebay

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

Guide to fake flash

IMPORTANT NOTICE: update on 01/05/2010

If you got here via an ebay listing from michaelliudl2009 (an ebay seller in China) please be aware that we suspect this seller is a fraudster selling fake flash memory items.

We have suspected for a long time that fraudsters in China may keep an eye on this blog and think this seller provided the link in an attempt to fool buyers into assuming they had found a trustworthy seller. We don’t think so, but michaelliudl2009 is welcome to get in touch and prove us wrong! We suggest you test any flash memory from michaelliudl2009 with h2testw.

Question: What is a fake USB flash drive?
Answer: It is a drive where the control chip has been programmed to report a false capacity to the operating system.

Question: What is a counterfeit USB flash drive?
Answer: A counterfeit USB flash drive is one that seems to show a brand name (either in the wording of a listing or in the picture) such as Sony or Kingston – or a trade-mark name belonging to a company (such as Micro Vault for Sony or DataTraveler for Kingston) but is not actually produced by that company. Often a counterfeit does not even match a flash drive of that capacity produced by the company. These drives are (like most unbranded drives sold on ebay) fake capacity.

An ebay member who bought fake USB flash drives wrote a guide to fake flash drives and kindly sent us a copy. Unfortunately (now that we are at the beginning of May 2010) it is rather out of date, but still useful. You can see the guide (pdf file) here by clicking on the link below (opens in a new window) and print it or save it to your computer if you want a copy to refer to:
Helen’s fake flash guide (updated Sunday 08 March 2009)

If you think you bought a fake Kingston flash drive please report the matter to Kingston immediately – if you go to the Kingston website you will find a number on which you can phone their customer service department and give them details of your purchase.

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Written by fightflashfraud

March 3, 2009 at 11:18 PM

38 Responses

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  1. Hi Hunter,
    Very interesting – we have been aware of this seller since early this year (we did a post on February 16th) and the evidence of this seller’s fraud has been held in a database run by another blog since early April. It is not at all unusual to find the same fraudster selling wholesale as well as on ebay.

    fightflashfraud

    July 21, 2010 at 4:27 PM

  2. STill there in ebay, the address is some place in a hotel called Leizhen Hotel and the scammer faked it as Leizhen Bld

    The scammer’s address in China:
    Rm 2907, Leizhen Bld, Fuming Rd, Futian District, Shenzhen

    Look at google map:
    http://maps.google.com.hk/maps?client=opera&rls=en&q=Leizhen%20Bld%2C%20Fuming%20Rd&oe=utf-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

    The scammer is selling at ebay nickname: ec_station now:

    http://shop.ebay.com.hk/ec_station/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=25

    http://feedback.ebay.com.hk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewFeedback2&userid=ec_station&iid=-1&de=off&items=25&which=negative&interval=365&_trkparms=negative_365

    Also, the same guy, selling the same product:

    5 Star Supplier Scam – Bright Lead International

    http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk/forum/bad-supplier-experiences/84499-5-star-supplier-scam-bright-lead-international-2.html

    Hunter

    July 21, 2010 at 3:28 PM

  3. My apologies, it’s: kitkitdigital2008
    The seller admitted to his supplier providing mini instruction/conversion disks with virus’ on them…

    Craig

    June 3, 2010 at 5:04 AM

  4. Hi Craig,
    couldn’t find your seller – did you make a mistake in typing the ID?

    fightflashfraud

    May 29, 2010 at 8:56 AM

  5. How ’bout talking about the possibility of fake MP4 players on eBay (KitKitDigital)? Try searching “16gb 2.8 inch touch screen”. I bought one, but when I formatted the unit due to a data error, it rendered it unusable! Fake? Probably!

    Craig

    May 29, 2010 at 7:58 AM

  6. Hi Krassi,

    If the 32GB flash drive you bought vanished from your won list and the seller you bought from is no longer a registered user that rings alarm bells with us! Fake capacity flash drives do work at first – this is part of the danger! We suggest you test the drive with h2testw as when listings for flash drives are removed and a seller vanishes from ebay it usually means the drives are fake capacity.

    If the 128GB flash drive from 2009poenghony is the Kingston we posted about (see the post about it) then we are certain they are fake – at this price they couldn’t be anything else.

    fightflashfraud

    April 8, 2010 at 1:13 PM

  7. The 32GB flash I bought no longer exists in ebay and the seller is deleted, althought I received it and it worked! The second one 128GB flash I bought from 2009poenghony and he assured me that he send it to me. I dont know should I trust him and wait a mounth for the item to arrive or raise a dispute in epay and paypal.

    Krassi

    April 8, 2010 at 1:02 PM

  8. To Krassi:

    The maximum file size in exFAT is 4GB not 2GB, I know because I use video files of close to 4GB on a flash drive. Files of 4GB are large enough for most people’s needs. We cannot comment on how Visual ideas approached his testing – he did not do it the way we do it here and is (like you) a visitor rather than a member of our team.

    When we test drives the maximum size of files written to the drive is 1GB (this is the size of file written by h2testw if there is sufficient space – if not a smaller one is written) so the file system is irrelevant. As you do not mention who your seller/s were and give item numbers we have no way of checking out what you bought.

    We’re not saying there are no genuine flash drives on ebay – we have in fact succeeded in buying a few genuine ones on ebay, though they are few and far between! We also can’t tell which drives you are questioning us about as what is at the front of the blog changes all the time – had you put your comment on a post for the model of drive it would have helped a bit.

    fightflashfraud

    April 7, 2010 at 2:58 PM

  9. People are you sure that this flash drives are really face. From the image posted from Visual ideas I saw that the flash drive he tested is “FAT formatted”. Probably you should use NTFS, because FAT cannot use files larger than 2GB.
    I already bought an 32GB stainless steel flash drive no branded. I formatted NTFS and copy files to its max capacity than copy them back to PC. There were no problem.
    Now I bought 128GB Kingston but I still did not received it. It is from one listed on the first page of the blog. I hope its ok too.

    So people did you format your drives to NTFS or exFAT?

    Krassi

    April 7, 2010 at 10:51 AM

  10. With the airing of all the BAD news about FLASH, I thought to breath a little GOOD news into the air and report a seller that is dealing in REAL flash.

    Sandisk Cruzer Micro Skin 8GB USB flash drives
    purchased from “mymemory-uk”

    Test Results for Sandisk 8GB Cruzer “Micro skin”

    Test finished without errors.
    Writing speed: 4.47 MByte/s
    Reading speed: 13.2 MByte/s
    H2testw v1.4

    Not the FASTEST, but certainly functional and suitable for the majority of uses, including streaming video playback.

    I add this seller as a candidate for the GOOD list
    not excessively pricey, in fact pretty keenly priced compared with a few others selling similar items.
    Good communications (responded quickly to my request for capacity verification). Very professional paper work with order, neat tidy selling site, fast delivery.
    The only minus point is the complex purchasing system which, although authorised by eBay & PayPal does lead
    you through some confusing steps compared to the conventional eBay/Paypal system, however at no time did the system jump out of the TLS (SSL) connection format, so security was maintained during the transaction.

    Micro

    March 12, 2010 at 11:58 AM

  11. Anyone found a USB Flash tester for Mac OSX?

    drh

    March 5, 2010 at 5:18 PM

  12. to geez,

    Who was your comment addressed to? I don’t think anyone said that Kingston do not make the DT 200 in 64GB.

    fightflashfraud

    December 5, 2009 at 6:37 PM

  13. http://www.kingston.com/flash/dt_chart.asp
    This will give you the correct info on kingston flash drives,contrary to your earlier statement they do produce Kingston 64GB DataTraveler 200 USB 2.0 Flash Drives!!

    geezz

    December 5, 2009 at 12:22 AM

  14. To aaron 123
    The largest genuine USB flash drive currently available is 256GB. The site you bought from is notorious for fraud and you have been sold a fake. If it is the one I think it is the real capacity is probably no more than 2GB. The only thing worth doing is to try to get your money back.

    fightflashfraud

    August 21, 2009 at 8:54 AM

  15. I bought 2 pcs USB 500GB from Dhgate.com, i tried to move the movies file 1G from my laptop to my desktop but it did not work, i have to use Recover My Files to save my data..Pls people tell me what to do =(

    aaron 123

    August 20, 2009 at 9:12 PM

  16. Oh, you can see a similar fake item on ebay right now at:

    http://i.ebayimg.com/14/!BUrj10!BGk~$(KGrHgoH-DoEjlLlw14UBKOsg)o2gQ~~_1.JPG

    A Thinkpad expert has told us that the IBM part number does not correspond to those chips, and the stick will not work in the Thinkpads that need that part number.

    Dude

    July 5, 2009 at 7:41 PM

  17. I just wanted to report that the same thing is occurring with RAM memory sticks (for internal use in PCs).
    A friend bought rare premium IBM brand memory sticks for his Thinkpad, which were pictured in the ebay item with an IBM product sticker.
    What arrived had Kingston stickers and did not work in his Thinkpad, so he was able to get the seller to send the originally promised IBM brand memory sticks.
    Except that what arrived were identical sticks with BOTH the Kingston stickers and the IBM brand stickers and they did not work in his IBM Thinkpad.
    He then did a web search on the Kingston number and it was for a DESKTOP memory stick rather than the laptop memory stick it was on.
    Clearly they are simply printing name brand stickers to put on cheap generic memory sticks.
    The incident parallels another one reported on your site in that the return address was in Hong Kong, but the seller asked the items to be returned to Guandong – exactly the same as the comment on this site. Of course, he is not returning counterfeit items.

    Dude

    July 5, 2009 at 7:38 PM

  18. I would REALLY like to hear Kingston and Sony or other flash makers’ take on all this since it’s their reputation and profits that are getting royally ripped here. Maybe if they truly understood their loses they might help us out in a stand at getting eBay and PayPal to hold some responsibility! When this kind of thing happens with Disney their lawyers are on you like white on rice at the first whiff! Really, I’d join a class action against eBay/PayPal in a heartbeat, but I’d like for the the biggie victims — Kingston & Co — to take a more forward stand. I hope it doesn’t take some horrible industrial accident or patients dying as a result from corrupted data in a fake flash with Kingston’s proud name on it to get them moving! Remember Tylenol?

    James Greenidge
    NY

    James Greenidge

    June 25, 2009 at 11:41 AM

  19. Hi Rebecca and everyone,
    I am in process of updating my guide to fake flash – all being well it will be available next week.

    Helen

    June 25, 2009 at 9:09 AM

  20. Hi Helen,

    A message for you- I have cited you in an article with a a thumbnail pop up of the cover of your guide and a link to this site for people who want to download it. I put copyright 2006 Helen MP Rose on the text for the thumbnail.

    It is for an article on How to identify fake flash drives before you make a purchase, as a follow up to my article on Is there really a 128gb drive? http://www.brighthub.com/computing/hardware/articles/33110.aspx , from a couple months ago, now that some real 128GB drives have been announced.

    Rebecca

    Rebecca Scudder

    June 25, 2009 at 1:02 AM

  21. Comments for the next Version of Helen’s document

    Some suggestions.

    On the subject of Genuine Kingston Drives.
    Kingston has expanded the capacity range of the DataTraveler 101 product. It now includes a 16GB drive. (http://www.kingston.com/flash/dt101.asp_
    For an up to date listing of current Kingston Flash products readers should look at
    http://www.kingston.com/flash/default.asp
    Colour may not be 100% indicator that a Kingston drive is counterfeit. Kingston provides customs colours, for resale under the Kingston name, to Dell and other vendors.
    Kingston Asia, has published an Website for verifying the authenticity of their products. The website address is http://www.kingston.com/asia/verifyflash/. This webpage shows what the back of a valid Kingston flash memory product looks like. If the product that you purchased did not come in package with a UPC Bar Code, Authentication code, and License key, then you should suspect that the drive you purchased is a counterfeit. Note, Kingston, could confirm that the drive authentication codes is invalid, and you thereby have purchased a counterfeit drive. A valid authentication code, does not imply that the drive is authentic, as the counterfeiters may be copying valid codes or creating valid codes by reverse engineering the Kingston code generation process, as had been done for Microsoft product authorisation keys.
    Another post on the subject of authentication code verication:
    http://fakeflashnews.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/kingston-counterfeit-fake-32gb-datatraveler-150-usb-flash-drive-found-on-ebay/

    Randy

    May 7, 2009 at 9:36 PM

  22. We are aware of the website you mentioned. We have removed the link to the website as we do not want to risk helping anyone to commit fraud! It’s a difficult call but we have found that some people, rather than steering clear of such websites are actually looking for them. These are desperate times – many are in finacial trouble and this brings out the worst in people.

    fightflashfraud

    May 6, 2009 at 8:38 PM

  23. Thanks for the info. I ran across this website and almost placed an order. You might want to check it out.

    Max Taylor

    May 6, 2009 at 7:34 PM

  24. […] removed by Louis G.Comment on Ebay seller niuren2008 de-registered and listings removed by DSComment on Guide to fake flash by BEWARE of FAKE 8GB 16GB 32GB 64GB USB Flash Drives – The Most Famo…Comment on Guide to fake flash by 32GB Kingston DT150 32GB DataTraveler USB Flash Drive Counterfeits […]

  25. […] for Fighting flash fraud on Ebay Comment on Guide to fake flash by 32GB Kingston DT150 32GB DataTraveler USB Flash Drive Counterfeits…Comment on Guide to fake flash by Sony Upgrades Kingston DataTraveler DTI/2GB To 64GB – Scams And […]

  26. […] Free Fake Flash Guide Download From Fighting flash fraud on Ebay […]

  27. The last sd card I got from ebay was genuine. However, three out of the four previous ones were fake. I asked them explicitly if they were fake and they still sent them.

    One I bought was obviously fake and I sent the seller a whole load of abuse. He sent me a refund without even returning the item. Guess he didn’t want the negative feedback

    Colin coupland

    March 21, 2009 at 1:13 PM

  28. I notice that someone downloaded my guide and provided it as an attachment to a comment on a blog about computer games in Romania.

    Whilst I have no objection, as such, to people distributing my guide without charge it is far better if people link to the page on this blog where it can be downloaded. That way people will always get the latest version.

    Please not that I hold copyright for the guide and would strongly object to it being sold without my permission!

    If you want to sell my guide on ebay or elsewhere please get in touch first by leaving a message on this page. The author of fightflashfraud will then pass your email address to me.

    If you sell my guide without permission I might just sue your arse off!

    Helen R

    March 14, 2009 at 6:38 PM

  29. Hi Mary,

    Helen doesn’t know anything about MP3 and MP4 players so she would need advice from users of these devices to write a guide on these. She does use memory cards but tells us she has no experience of fake ones.

    She says she will try to include other fake flash items like MP players and memory cards once she feels she has enough accurate information available to do so.

    fightflashfraud

    March 7, 2009 at 6:21 PM

  30. I found this guide through a link from another site – really good for people buying USB flash drives. Any chance of something about other flash memory items like SD cards, MP4 players and so on?

    Mary

    March 5, 2009 at 11:32 PM

  31. This guide looks great – really clear. I just clicked the link and printed it out from the acrobat reader rather than downloading it – but I guess if you don’t have a colour printer downloading it would be a better idea.

    Vera Grimm

    March 5, 2009 at 11:25 PM

  32. just in case there are any other people travelling through delhi, beware of all the market places which are FLOODED with hundreds of separate shops selling all sorts of fake (mostly Kingston) flash drives. everything from 40gb to 128gb are on sale for as little as $8US, so everything about the shops screams fake.

    I havent seen this sort of concentration of fake sellers anywhere else in India (or the world) yet, so just be wary in Delhi.

    Brendan

    March 5, 2009 at 8:53 AM

  33. […] it immediately with h2testw. Fake flash drive = lost files in the long run!  Go to the page:  Guide to fake flash to get this valuable […]


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