Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Memory Chip Scam Leaves Travelers Without Data And Photos

A counterfeit of this simple little storage device may leave you without any data.

 It’s no bigger than your fingernail, but this tiny replaceable memory card holds your data, photos and contacts in your phone, camera, iPad, tablet, laptop and GPS. If you buy a fake, you are likely to lose your data and you may damage your equipment. 

Chip Image

Counterfeits of all the popular SD cards including SanDisk®, Samsung®, Kingston® and others are widely available on eBay®, Amazon® and Alibaba®, often at highly discounted prices. Dishonest sellers reap millions in profits, while industry experts warn as much as 80% of online memory is fake. Typically, the cards and packaging look almost identical to the authentic product. 

Could you spot these counterfeit micro SD memory cards purchased on eBay and Amazon? 

Various Fake Chips Image

Shown (clockwise): Samsung 64GB micro SDXC, Samsung 64GB micro SDHC, Samsung 64GB micro SDHC, SanDisk 64GB micro SDHC, SanDisk 64GB micro SDHC, Generic (unbranded) 64GB micro SDHC. All cards shown here are fake, and have actual capacities under 8GB. (photos: The Counterfeit Report)

The removable micro SD (Secure Digital) memory storage card is an amazing, convenient and trouble-free storage device. When it works, it is unnoticed. When you get a fake, it will be the very core of your frustration, despair and pain – and your data will be gone. 

The Counterfeit Report®, a watchdog and consumer education website, purchased dozens of name brand counterfeit micro SD cards from eBay, Amazon and Alibaba sellers. Some were models and capacities not even offered in the manufacturer’s product line, yet they were still listed on the websites. 

Consumers cannot determine the actual memory capacity of a counterfeit memory card by simply viewing the capacity displayed on their computer, phone or camera. The counterfeiters are too smart for that, and simply overwrite the real memory capacity with a false capacity to match any capacity and model they print on the counterfeit packaging and card. A free downloadable test program (H2TESTW.exe) will tell you the real capacity of your card. 

All the SD memory cards purchased by The Counterfeit Report from eBay and Amazon were fake and tested at 7GB or less, a fraction of their stated capacity. It was not uncommon for some counterfeit cards to fail during the test process. When the counterfeit memory cards reach their actual capacity, they begin to erase and overwrite existing data. 

The Secure Digital (SD® ) standard is maintained by the SD Association (SDA). The Secure Digital format includes four card families; the original Standard-Capacity (SDSC), the High-Capacity (SDHC), the eXtended-Capacity (SDXC), and the SDIO. The cards are available in three form factors; original, mini size, and micro size. 

If you are going to trust your data and photos to a SD card, be sure to buy authentic memory cards from authorized retailers or directly from the manufacturer. See for more examples of counterfeited memory cards.   



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