Don't Fall for the Flash Drive Scam!

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About: I love looking at everything in new ways- whether it's a problem that needs an innovative solution, or a philosophy about life that I come up with. I love tinkering with stuff, and doing things that defy con...

Intro: Don't Fall for the Flash Drive Scam!

Hey Guys- I recently became aware of a major scam on eBay. Hackers in China are selling flash drives with less memory than they advertise. Users like PikesPeakTraders sell thousands of 'hacked' flash drives from China. The problem is that the hackers change a log file that makes the flash drive think it has more memory than it does. When you receive the drive, if you right click and go to properties it will display a larger amount of memory than it really has- so when you put data on it that exceeds it's actual memory, old data will be deleted.

This problem is nearly impossibly for the average Joe to detect because the flash drive looks and works normally- until it's memory is filled.

Here's how to protect yourself from this scam:

Step 1: How to Buy

So you want to get a nice, high capacity flash drive for a friend for the holidays. Here are a few cardinal rules to follow to avoid getting scammed:
(if you've already bought an unbranded flash drive online, skip to the next step)

1) Buy a brand name flash drive
-Most brands are reliable in terms of storage. Most unbranded drives aren't

2) Know your product
-I was naive enough to think that many companies (including unbranded ones) are producing 16GB flash drives- I could be wrong, but I believe the only company selling one of that size is Corsair. This goes for any size...

3) Look on the packaging
-If the buyer shows a picture of the packaging, see whether the storage is printed directly onto the packaging, or if there's a sticker on it that has it. If it's printed on, it's more likely not to be a scam as that means the company probably hasn't tampered with it

4) AVOID BUYING FROM EBAY!
-Ebay has been seemingly overrun by scam artists selling falsely listed items- avoid buying anything that's not a well-known brand name from Ebay at all costs!

Step 2: When It Arrives...

Once you've bought your flash drive, and it ships to you, it's a good idea to run a program that will test it's true memory capacity. Here's how:

1) Plug flash drive into computer and make sure it initializes normally
2) Download testdrive.exe and drag it into your C drive
3) Go to Start -> Run -> Type in 'cmd'
4) Note the drive letter that represents your flash drive and type 'c:\testdrive.exe (LETTER OF DRIVE HERE)' WITHOUT the brackets or quotes
5) Hit enter- the program will check how much space the drive thinks it has, and then attempt to fill that space.

If the program runs fine, congratulations! You have a normal working flash drive! However, if you get an error like the one in picture 2 below, the drive is falsely reporting it's space usage- return it and get a refund as soon as possible.

Step 3: Disputing With the Seller

If you're having trouble returning the product and you used Ebay, report the seller. Additionally, if they use SquareTrade, you can start a 'dispute' with the seller.

If you bought it from another website, you may have a harder time getting a refund... I might recommend reporting the business to bbb.org (the Better Business Bureau) -they may be able to resolve the problems for you.

Thanks for reading- if you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to post!

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137 Discussions

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phil20

1 year ago

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/8GB-16GB-32GB-64GB-128GB...

fraudulent seller - beware

his entire business on ebay as a registered business seller having an ebay shop is based on selling doctored flash drives.

I bought 2 x 2TB flash drives that had 8gb each on them

seller admitted in emails that they may not have storage advertised as they were not quality tested. In other words hes admitting hes conning people knowing fine well they are not 2TB or 1TB etc yet advertising such on ebay.

Hes in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 yet ebay wont do shit and remove all these sellers from their system as they would loose too much profit from the sales of these goods. Ringing ebay for direction action is a bitch too as they make it difficult even to find their number.

Never buy from china

check their feedback, max sellers are normally china importers.
If they have a custom page, hmm another sign
If they have removed the report link, another sign
if they state uk distribution yet in contact info its a china address, another sign.

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Prateekk37

1 year ago

i found this article on google

http://www.deskdecode.com/top-best-1tb-hard-disk-drive-monthly-updated/

and they suggest me to buy wd.

how about that?

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DavidD419

2 years ago

Fix the flash drive.

1. Open CMD
2. Open diskpart

3. select disk x

4. type clean and hit enter.

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JeevusC

2 years ago

Wish.com also offers a lot of this fraudulent merchandise.

I expected a scam, but there was no other way to prove I was right and a friend of mine wasn't than buying 2 thumb drives

So I ordered a 2 TB thumb drive USB 2.0 11 Euro, and a 1 TB USB 3.0 thumb drive 14 Euro to prove to him that it is simply impossible to get more than 32GB USB3.0 or 64 GB USB2.0 thumb drives under 10 Euros

2TB USB2.0 thumb drives are extremely unlikely to ever come off the assembly line... ever!! USB3.0C is fast becoming the new standard, "2TB USB2.0 drive" is its own red flag

Right now there are no 2TB thumb drives

Right now the only 1TB USB3.0 thumb drive is Kingston's DataTraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 ($+/-$700)

The only mini sized 2TB drive I could find was Samsung’s T3 Portable SSD it's only twice the size of a typical USB flash drive. Capacities start at 250GB +/-$120 From there they shoot up to 2TB +/-$750

So, anyone reading this, maybe $10 - $15 for 1 - 2TB is a bit "cheap"

I'd say buying a 128GB USB3.0 thumb drive for 40 Euros is as cheap as it'll get (Juli 2016). I can vouch for that price since I bought one 6 weeks ago, together with a 1TB 3.5 inch ext USB3.0 drive for 50 Euros (about the same size as an early SSD drive and about the same read/write speeds)

Well, you're all up to speed now in regard to current max. capacities and min. prices. Maybe staying away from aforementioned website would be a good idea also

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rgerber1

2 years ago

i bought a 1 t usb thumbdrive from Wish.com recently,, every time I try to install data on it ,, the thing says it is loading, and then when computer say it is finished nothing is there,, I have placed a few files on it, but no where close to 5 gig, let alone 1 T..... wish I had read this alot sooner,, didnt pay much so I am not out more than 10 bucks.

4 replies
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EvaM49rgerber1

Reply 2 years ago

got the same problem

bought one from wish, was so excited a few files. the flash drive corrupted.

I had tried to fix the problem due to not knowing the dialect on their part. I am so screwed. anyho..tried online recovery but does not recognize the driver.

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rgerber1EvaM49

Reply 2 years ago

I didnt try anything online, just windows format,, then dragged a bunch of files over where it went for hours and then found nothing,,, the drive found my 24 ounce ball peen hammer,, I felt better after... good luck

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rgerber1EvaM49

Reply 2 years ago

I didnt try anything online, just windows format,, then dragged a bunch of files over where it went for hours and then found nothing,,, the drive found my 24 ounce ball peen hammer,, I felt better after... good luck

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rgerber1EvaM49

Reply 2 years ago

I didnt try anything online, just windows format,, then dragged a bunch of files over where it went for hours and then found nothing,,, the drive found my 24 ounce ball peen hammer,, I felt better after... good luck

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moris_zen

2 years ago

Just a clarification . The key below was advertised as 64GB yet testing it any data written over ~10GB was lost - all camera video and images will be lost forever. no way to "repair it"

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DarthV2

3 years ago

I fell for this http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/SanDisk-256GB-Ultra-Micro-SD-Micro-SDHC-UHS-I-Card-with-Adapter-/231721492117?_trksid=p2141725.m3641.l6561#rpdCntId, it looks legit and all, except its actuall 7.2GB and 13MB/s Read Speed. Use this program to test purchased drives: http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Miscellaneous/H2testw.shtml

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Sc0rpi0

3 years ago

Hi, I know these has been discussed a lot, but I learned today that these fake USB Sticks has advanced in fooling you. The right way to check if you have a fake USB Stick is, as mentioned, to fill it with a couple of big files, THEN disconnect the drive, wait a few seconds and reconnect it. Now check your files!
I bought two 128 GB, which real size only is 8 GB.

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Scooter800mzorro3355

Reply 3 years ago

Did the scammers really just put a usb cord inside nothing else?

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Lithium RainDerin

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Stalker much? :P Yeah that's true, you can't really favorite comments, although you can rate them with zach's script.