Beware: Fake computer products

China has a reputation for selling fake products for people to sell through stores like Amazon, eBay and It is well known that the Chinese try to scam each other in China, so scamming the West is big business.

USB memory sticks

If you buy a fake memory stick, it will behave like the real thing. This is because inside the metal exterior is a chip that tells the computer that reports the capacity to be correct. You can even format the memory stick under Windows or Mac and it will seem like its the capacity it claims to be.

The seller is counting on you forgetting who you bought it from by the time you realise that you have a fake memory stick and you have lost your data.

For a price comparison, a genuine 2TB memory stick would cost £1,200.

SD memory cards

If you own a digital camera, you will more likely be using SD cards. Like with USB memory sticks, fake memory cards are available for just £8.

Just like the USB memory sticks, the chip has been programmed to pretend to be much larger than its real size is. It is easy for a Chinese manufacturer to turn out these fake cards and stamp them with a genuine manufacturer’s name.

In the same style as the USB memory sticks, by the time you’ve taken all those photos and hit the true capacity of the memory card, then every photo after that will be corrupted, they know you will have forgotten who the seller’s name was.

Another price comparison, a Samsung 512GB SD card retails for just over £100.

How to check if it's genuine

On Windows:

The leading program for testing memory cards and USB memory sticks is h2testw however, as this program tests every byte of data on the device, it can be slow to find the errors.

RMPrepUSB is a much more complex program that tests memory cards and sticks. However, they have created a simpler and faster program called FakeFlashTest


On Mac:

File Read Test is a Java application that writes data to a memory card or stick which will stop when it hits an error.

If you have Mac Ports or Brew installed, then you can install F3 which runs natively.

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