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I bought a '16TB external M.2 SSD' for $20 and got what I deserved

The internet is awash with deals that look -- and are -- too good to be true.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Regular readers will know that I've been in the market for SSD drives. While I was shopping, I couldn't help but notice that there were a lot of cheap -- very cheap -- 16TB external M.2 SSD drives being offered by no-name sellers.

Now 16TB M.2 SSDs do indeed exist, but they're not $20.

Try closer to $3,000.

OK, so while I knew it was a scam, I had to find out what made these fake drives tick.

So, I bought one.

Don't worry, the scammers don't benefit from this sale because I always claim a refund and report the seller for selling fake products.

I'd ordered this fake drive about a month ago, and today it arrived, and I was so excited that I ripped it out of the box and plugged it into a system (an isolated, sacrificial system, there's no way I'm plugging a random drive into my main systems).

Now, I was expecting one of those cheap, low-capacity drives that had been modified to look like a 16TB monster.

What I go was even more disappointing.

Here's the drive I received in the mail! On the face of it, it looks good.

Here's the drive I received in the mail! On the face of it, it looks good.

Lots of promises of M.2 drive goodness on the packaging.

Promises, promises

Promises, promises

The packaging looks good. Looks like a genuine product.

More promises

I got the drive out of the box, plugged it into a test system (I'm not plugging a random drive into my main system). 

Surprise, the drive didn't work.

The drive and the accessories

I grabbed my tools and started digging in, and within seconds I had the guts out and the drive spilled its secrets -- there were no M.2 drives inside, but instead a no-name 64GB microSD card fitted into a USB-C microSD card reader.

Uncovering the secrets of the drive

Uncovering the secrets of the drive

No M.2 drive in sight. Instead a microSD card.

No M.2 drive in sight

No M.2 drive in sight

Basically, the drive is a USB-C microSD card reader.

USB-C microSD card reader

USB-C microSD card reader

The microSD card was corrupted and totally unusable. Nothing I tried could bring it to life.

Corrupted 64GB microSD card

Corrupted 64GB microSD card

Basically, it's all junk.

Well, the little bag and the USB-A to USB-C cable was nice and all, but not $20 nice.

Remember, if a deal looks too good to be true, it is.

Editorial standards