Beware fake memory cards

Beware fake memory cards

Summary: If it sounds too good to be true, maybe it isCounterfeiting is a huge business. Handbags we know about.


If it sounds too good to be true, maybe it is Counterfeiting is a huge business. Handbags we know about. Car parts, maybe. But flash memory cards? It's true.

Flash is a brutally competitive business Real flash cards - Compact Flash (CF), SD and the rest - are a great deal. Flash memory maufacturing plants cost billions and should be run at near full capacity for maximum efficiency. But flash product demand peaks around Christmas - all those cameras, MP3 players and cellphones - meaning a lot of flash product gets shipped at below full cost.

Translation: we get very good deals on real flash memory cards.

Counterfeits don't give you what you paid for The cost of the flash chip is about a quarter of the retail price. Packaging, shipping and margin account for the rest. That doesn't leave counterfeiters much margin to cut costs. So they cut out the flash quantity and/or quality.

Flash chips are programmable devices, so small flash chips can be programmed to report that they are large flash chips. Or slow flash chips substituted for the high-speed chip you thought you were buying.

They also cut corners on printing, plastic molding, packaging and card cases.

Avoid being gypped Ebay sellers have been a major outlet for counterfeits. An Ebay user has published a guide to the counterfeits to help buyers identify counterfeits - see FAKE SanDisk Ultra Compact Flash Cards Exposed - but scammers don't like to give refunds.

Your best bet is to avoid counterfeits in the first place.

  • Buy from established commercial vendors. Some scammers have had excellent Ebay ratings, because most folks can't tell a real card from a fake before they rate the seller.
  • Check out pricing on sites like DealRam or Google Products (3 star sellers and above only!) to find current prices.
  • If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The Storage Bits take The plummeting price of flash make flash a great deal. Avoiding counterfeits make it an even better deal.

Comments welcome, of course.

Topics: Processors, E-Commerce, Hardware, Networking

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  • Who would've ever thought ....

    Thanks for the heads up. These being counterfeit never even
    crossed my mind.
  • RE: Beware fake memory cards

    yea it is way too easy to do this. Just sell a 1.5 GB as a 2 GB. People wouldnt really ell because all memory has a little bit less capicity than actually stated ad they would just think its normal or something.
  • Doesn't sound like conterfiet cards

    Sounds more like cheap cards being a case of you get what you pay for.

    I know people in China or from China I should say. I got the details first hand on how counterfeit goods get made. You have a factory that does a production for for say 500,000 units. The factory says it will take 4 days to fill this order. What they don't say is in that 4 days the produce 600,000 units on the dime of the corporation asking for the product. Then they ship the 500,000 units to said corporation and take the extra 100,000 units to sell on the black market. This is where you counterfeit goods come from and explains why they can sell them so cheap. The production cost was already paid for by the official buyers so they can really under cut the brand name product by saving on Brand Name mark up and the fact that product cost was paid by the brand name. The product however is identical. No quality sacrifices or anything but much much cheaper.

    Now what you are describing is a company paying to have lesser product made then apply the brandname of another with out the brandname market up. It's more of trademark infringement case. Many times they can be completely legal as trademark infringement only becomes and issue if the brand name being infringed upon takes action against the infringer. In some cases it might not be worth it. For example the brand name Panasonic had competitor flogging crappy products under the name Prosonic and they looked almost Identical except you could tell the quality difference immediately. I'm not sure if Panasonic ever did a thing about Prosonic. This was back in the early 90s with Walkmans.

    So the first case I pointed out is much more illegal than the second case.
    • Study the Packaging

      Note that the 500,000 legit units may be independently sent to a shrink wrap outfit who uses legit artwork for the printing.

      But the 100,000 fraudulent units would be sent to a different shrink wrap outfit (in order to avoid instantaneous detection) that doesn't have access to the legit artwork, and therefore elaborate counterfiet copying of the artwork is necessary. The fraudsters would likely rely on the fact that a buyer can't know the genuine from the counterfiet without seeing both side-by-side.
    • The counterfeits lack capacity and/or performance

      If people got what they paid for the problem is between the vendor and the
      manufacturer, not the customer and the seller.

      The problem is that the counterfeits don't meet the product spec people think
      they are buying.

      High megapixel cameras require fast cards to get the shot to shot times the
      camera vendor specs. A counterfeit can be half the speed of the card it claims to
      be. The average consumer would probably blame the camera.

      R Harris
      • Fakers

        I got ripped off with an MMCard and it had nothing to do with product spec or such.
        It tested as 1GB at the store and when I went to add data to it, it showed up as being 16MB.
        I went and replaced it with a new one and the seller- who I won't name) commented that 'this sort of thing happens quite a bit'.
    • In EITHER case it's illegal

      "So the first case I pointed out is much more illegal than the second case."

      No they are both theft. They are both illegal.

      Is it right to steal? You seem to think so.

      And by the way

      "I know people in China or from China I should say. I got the details first hand on how counterfeit goods get made. You have a factory that does a production for for say 500,000 units. The factory says it will take 4 days to fill this order. What they don't say is in that 4 days the produce 600,000 units on the dime of the corporation asking for the product. Then they ship the 500,000 units to said corporation and take the extra 100,000 units to sell on the black market."

      This goes on not only in China. It goes on in Japan, and many other countries too. In fact I would not be surprised to find it happening here in the USA too.

      I know first hand because at one time I was working for a company that was selling "Grey market" Sony goods. They were originally marked for Europe, but shipping people at the Sony Japan factory and other Japanese were paid and the goods were diverted to the USA.

      It all comes down to the company ordering the widget. If you do not supervise and pay careful attention, you get ripped off.

      There are to few moral people in the world now days. Regardless of any law. So it's really "Buyer beware."
    • Reminds me of the b/w portable TV I received

      on X-mas about 25 years ago. At first glance, I thought it was a Westinghouse model. On closer inspection, I saw that it was a Resting Grouse! :) It worked fine, though.
      • Other counterfeits

        Yeah, I had a buddy that bought a Fender Bassman amplifier, then when we looked a little closer we realized it was a Fenler, not Fender!
  • Don't know why,

    But I starded laughing. It is getting rediculous out there in the real world...
  • RE: Beware fake memory cards

    Which area of the device has the false information? Is it the file system on the card which reports the fake number, or is it the block count value stroed int that part which has the part's manufacturer?
  • RE: Beware fake memory cards

    Sounds like a "too good to be true" deal I once got on a sewing machine. When I plugged it in, it took off running at top speed. The trouble was, nobody was even touching the thing, and the only way to turn it off was unplug it. And it seems like I've been scammed on other things as well, while looking for "bargains" -- and I'm too embarrised to tell about those times because I SHOULD have known better.....
  • Card Capacity checking program

    I have been ripped off with a fake card from eBay. the vendor had many positive feedbacks for the same item. The packaging was almost perfect. A 256 MB masquerading as 1GB. Thankfully money refunded via eBay and Paypal.
    Now if you want to check quickly, I found a small checking program on the Z-Cyber website called Checkcap.exe.
  • RE: Beware fake memory cards

    Hi; I can buy at wholesale; but ebay is cheaper than my buying price and delivery is fast; I've just checked my own sandisc 2gig card bought on ebay and it looks like a Genuine And works fine. I also bought five or so stick memories on eBay without problems. to be safer buyers should ask sellers if the product they are selling has made in China printed on the edge; there will always be scams. Helpful article: thanks John: Perth, Australia.
  • RE: Beware fake memory cards

    Yeah i got scammed about 18 months ago before i realised about fake cards, bought a card for my phone (miniSD was expensive back then) grabbed it off ebay and it just didnt work.
    Phone locked everytime i inserted it - yet when i put it into a card reader on the PC it was fine.
    Was claimed to be a sandisk from memory one of the faster ones.
    I wont make that mistake again, ill go down to my local computer store and pay the 10% inflated price next time. At least that way i can take it back if it doesnt work.
  • "gyp"???

    "gypped"? really? would you recommend that we "jew down" the price, too????
    thanks for the racist interlude in your article
    nipsey russell
    • "Nipsey Russell"

      What's offensive is using the name of a black comedian who's been dead for several years................
      • what is your problem? do youf doubt my sincerity or just like to attack?

        simply writing the name of a person who has been dead for years is offensive? and what does his being black have to do with it. the remark makes YOU seem racist, not me, and its just silly, frankly, with absolutely zero merit.
        Why are you attacking me for pointing out that this author has made a blatantly racist comment?? Do you doubt that using a contraction of the name of a race to mean "cheat" is racist? can you be so blind? there isnt a thinking person around who would doubt that "to jew" is a racist comment, so what is the difference? is it because most people dont know a roma/gypsy?
        nipsey russell
        • Poorly chosen battle

          I'm pretty late to the party here, but perhaps you might see this nonetheless, N.R. I'd put money on it that the author had no idea the origin of the word "gypped". Most people likely do not, myself included until now... just never struck me to look up this particular word.

          To term the modern use of the word "gypped" as racist is a mistake. More importantly though, is the issue of someone screaming racist at the drop of a hat, without regard for context.
      • nipsey

        just to be clear, "gyp" is an ethnic name which the author used to refer to a negative activity (to cheat) due to a perceived stereotype about said people. hence - offensive - no debate

        "nipsey" is my pseudonym because i like nipsey russell and was not used to make negative inferences about the person. whether he is alive and white or dead and black simply are irrelevant. hence -not offensive (or, more accurately, if you actually ARE offended, it is for no good reason, and thus i owe no apology)
        nipsey russell