Fighting flash fraud on Ebay

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

How to tell whether a USB flash drive on Ebay is counterfeit

The information that was on this page is now outdated – see the Guide to fake flash page instead. There is now a pdf guide on the new page available for you to print out or download to your computer.

UPDATE 03/01/2011
Unfortunately the author of the guide to fake flash has not produced an updated version yet – or if she did we have not heard from her – so it is probably of little use now as things have moved on a lot in the last two years.

The main things that we would suggest if you are buying flash memory items are as follows:

Think about the price – if someone is selling flash memory items singly at less than £1 GBP or $ 1.55 USD per gigabyte then you are likely to be looking at fake capacity flash memory (and wholesale should be at least 2/3 of this) so if (for example) you see a 256GB flash drive for $100 US on ebay you can be pretty certain it is a fake and that anyone using it will find it corrupts their files.

Check the model – a lot of flash memory items that appear to be brand name goods (such as Kingston, Sandisk, Sony, Transcend etc) are sold in models and capacities that never really existed. Check the brand’s web site to see if the thing you are thinking of buying actually existed. If it doesn’t exist, please warn the brand about the counterfeit – their reputations are being damaged!

Check seller feedback – If you risk buying on ebay and everything else looks ok we suggest you check the seller’s feedback very carefully! Don’t just look for negs and neuterals – look for anything that suggests the buyer got a refund – if so, treat with extreme caution!

Finally (as always) we strongly advise everyone to have the free program h2testw at hand and to test all flash memory items with it before use!

Written by fightflashfraud

January 31, 2009 at 11:42 PM

16 Responses

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  1. Sadly,

    I just bought a Fake Kingston DT310 on I was not aware of any fakes or the actual costs for these drives. I thought the costs were in line as others were adverstised as used from $80 – $200 + . these are also likely to be fakes. The selling of these fake capacity flash drives is spreading. I found th is blog while researching the problems t hat I am experiencing with this drive, e.g., corrupt files, will not format, error reading directory, and so forth. Thanks for the post. I guess I will look around before buying on the Internet again. It would be good if PC Magazine or some other United States computer magazine would print something about this issue.


    August 27, 2011 at 2:44 AM

  2. We need to keep this thread going, it is too good.
    h2testw is a great program and very accurate as well!!
    I have used it on 30-ish flash cards and it has been spot-on.
    -Cards I knew were bad…cards I knew were good.-
    This free program hit them properly.
    I recently bought 3 different HDSC cards 16-32GB, 1 of them was bad. I was able to get a full refund(shipping too) because I asked the right questions in advance.
    My 2 new cards work great in my Hi-Def video equipment, and I saved a bundle.
    Knowledge is power when buying!!!
    Great postings here.

    Dean Stewart

    January 9, 2011 at 3:12 PM

  3. Hi Kenny,

    Given where you left this comment we haven’t a clue what flash drive you are talking about! For information about how to test flash memory items please see this page:

    If you still don’t understand leave a comment there.


    October 13, 2010 at 5:17 PM

  4. i havnt had no problems that i know of with this 32 gb kingston i wouldnt know how to test it anyway i tried and got lost


    October 13, 2010 at 5:03 PM

  5. DieselDragon. I have never found CF (assuming you mean Compact flash) to be any faster than this, they are after all quite old legacy devices. Similar results have been noted with the Olympus and Fuji XD series of cards. I have moved over (changed camera) to SD almost exclusively now, some of these fall below the 2megs/second, but most are in the 5-7 meg/s range.

    Another consideration is the reader you use, again some old ones (my smart media for example) that used the printer parallel port never got past the 500k/s speed. 10 years ago this was great speed, today not so fast.

    SD HDC are supposed to work at 8-10megs/s, I have never found one that fast YET, but am not going to try various card readers to see if I can get any faster, as really my needs are just storage and a few extra seconds do not really matter.

    Using flash memory in live mode where regular writes will be made (windows system tests etc, or the equivilent in linux) will soon damage the flash device and render it ineffective.


    May 16, 2010 at 10:26 AM

  6. Hail again! 🙂 Not quite related to USB storage, I know…But it kind of fits in the same vein, so I thought it would be a relevant question to pose here. 🙂 Anyhow…I’ve just H2W’d a couple of Kingston CF cards that I bought on eBay and received the other day.

    Now they seem to check out as genuine (I actually e-mailed photos to Kingston Europe, and they gave it an all-clear) but something still strikes me as odd all the same.Here’s the H2TestW output from scans of both cards – Translated from the German, as I run H2Test in it’s original language – With some of my own analysis added:

    Card 01: Kingston 2GB (1918MB) CF card 01:Write started: 15 May 2010 00:31:55, Ended: 15 May 2010 01:07:28 (35m 33s) Finished – No errors detected. You can now delete the *.h2w test files or retain them for future testing.Write speed: 921 KByte/sRead speed: 937 KByte/sH2testw v1.4 Card 02: Kingston 2GB (1918MB)

    CF card 02:Write started: 15 May 2010 01:58:19, Ended: 15 May 2010 02:33:52 (35m 33s)Finished – No errors detected. You can now delete the *.h2w test files or retain them for future testing.Write speed: 922 KByte/sRead speed: 939 KByte/sH2testw v1.4 What strikes me as odd are the read/write speeds reported above.

    Though they may be consistant across both tests, I’d personally expect a Kingston product to perform much better than that – Especially as my plan was to use these cards as P-ATA SSDs in systems that couldn’t be booted from a USB stick – And I doubt that a transfer rate of ~940KB/s is going to work with anything other than MS-DOS! :-O

    The cards that I’ve got – Kingston CF/2GBs – Seem to match This listing on Amazon which doesn’t answer my quandry in any way.

    Are such low data speeds normal with these cards, or have I been sold a quality control reject/second grade product here? 😐 Farewell…And many thanks in advance for any handy info! 🙂 +++ DieselDragon +++


    May 15, 2010 at 2:44 AM

  7. Hi Tony there is information about the program on this blog and a link to the download site. 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.


    December 18, 2009 at 9:53 AM

  8. h2testw… it…The best free program for testing drives…small program easy to use…very extensive test…very accurate..


    December 18, 2009 at 4:48 AM

  9. To test whether or not you’re Kingston products are actually 100% Authentic and have not been registered by somebody else please visit the Kingston website:

    Fill in the details and you can select any: Country/Region as this doesn’t matter. Also the Customer Information section is optional and is not needed to get an answer!

    It worked for me mine is already registered by another user!!!

    If you bought it from eBay and paid with PayPal then you can make a claim stating it is a fake but first you might want to contact the seller as maybe, just maybe they are unaware of this.

    I’ll be doing that right now.

    If you need any other information on this just reply using this comment section.


    September 8, 2009 at 11:23 AM

  10. It will read and write to the flash memory to check/repair it. I ran the DU application on several fake capacity flash drives and uploaded a screenshot of one @

    Visual Ideas

    September 1, 2009 at 11:48 PM

  11. To Visual Ideas,

    I haven’t used a Mac for a few years so have never used a flash drive with one – will this disk utility actually read and write to the flash memory to check it or does it (like windoze) just report what the controller on the drive says? Must find someone with a Mac so I can see what the Mac says about my fakes!


    September 1, 2009 at 4:33 PM

  12. You can use the Mac OS X Disk Utility (DU) application. Plug in your USB stick and let DU verify it. If it complains you most likely have a fake one.

    Visual Ideas

    September 1, 2009 at 4:07 PM

  13. Afraid we don’t know of a test program you can use on the mac – perhaps you could get a friend with a PC to do the test for you? Otherwise I’d suggest copying some large video files to the drive. DON’T USE THE MOVE COMMAND THOUGH! – chances are that most of the files will become corrupted if the drive is fake capacity.


    June 17, 2009 at 3:02 PM

  14. Is there any fake flash drive test for people with Macs?

    James Greenidge

    June 17, 2009 at 12:40 PM

  15. […] leave a comment » Seller ko_091582 registered as an ebay member on 1 July 2008 but there was no activity on the account until near the end of January 2008. This seller, based in China, began by selling jewellery items but has now (having got 5 positive feedback comments) switched to selling flash drives. There are no current listings for jewellery items. This seller’s listings are very careless – items 280311404858 and 280311132264 are both titled New Kingston 32GB stainless steel Memory Stick USB 2.0 but one shows what appears to be an 8GB Kingston DataTraveller in plastic and the other shows a metal drive bearing the name Sony. Kingston do not make a stainless steel 32GB flash drive – the only real 32GB Kingston drives can be seen here. […]

  16. […] How to tell whether a USB flash drive on Ebay is counterfeit […]

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