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Toward A Fake Flash Drive Free World – No More Counterfeits – No More Data Loss

Proving A Fake USB Flash Memory Pen Drive Stick Pen To Be False Capacity – A Visual Example – Guide Made Easy

Posted by KittyFireFlash on August 14, 2009

A Fake usb flash drive, is a memory pen stick that has been digitally altered – reprogrammed to lie to an operating system about the real size of it’s flash nand storage chip. Once you exceed true capacity of the chip, you begin to loose files. People do not suspect the real reason, thinking it an error in the data transfer. Only when it happens again and again do they suspect there is something more… How can you find out if you have a fake usb flash drive?

Republished from InspectorTech’s http://fixfakeflash.wordpress.com/ site.

 In this guide you are taken through steps that can help you prove whether you have a fake. Evidence, testing results and photographs. A true case on a infamous fake flash seller is used. No, this eBay seller was not located in the Orient but in the United Kingdom!

The quick way to determine the real capacity of any flash chip used in usb flash drives, memory cards or MP Players is to use a free program called H2testw. The old fashioned way, is to take the item apart. Then decode the usb controller chip and the storage chip.

Usb controllers have a maximum range of flash chip sizes they can handle. Older controllers are especially vulnerable with flaws that can be exploited. These are easily be reprogrammed and manipulated using the right software tools to allow for the flash drive chip to be seen larger in capacity than it really is.

Nand flash storage chips can usually be decoded using their full serial information and searched on the internet. Brand name manufacturers have lists you can use to confirm the size of the chip by it’s serial information. If it is a very low quality or factory reject, you will will not find any brand name information (see Genuine Verses Fake Counterfeit USB Flash Drives – A Guide – USB Flash Chips Used In USB Flash Drives – Grades A B C D ). This discovery can be extremely useful to you, especially if the seller said it was a brand name such as SAMSUNG and it is not – more evidence.

FixFakeFlash has a category: Flash Chip Storage with articles for manufacturers of nand flash chips and includes the links to check the serial information.

When you have to confront a fake flash seller who does not accept the proven H2testw, you can prove it a additional information. The physical facts photographed. Opening suspected flash drives that fail H2testw, can help you corner fake flash sellers, even eBay, PayPal or any other internet site that offered them. Fake Flash sellers can not get past you with the “defective song”, when the actual flash drive chip shouts the truth about it’s real manufactured capacity! Here is a visual example based on a real case.

16GB USB Flash Drives Fakes Exposed

A UK eBay Seller, bigdawgbaker recently sold 16GB usb flash drives that turned out to be a fake, false capacity. He stubbornly insisted there was nothing wrong with his usb flash drives and refused the results of H2testw. SOSFakeFlash investigated him. bigdawgbaker is a reseller of fakes, worse then a fake flash seller. Additional background information is presented, because he sold what he bought from known fake flash sellers.

Victims are much sharper than most fraudsters think. This guide will to help you to become even sharper and arm you to deal with your fake flash seller.

bigdawgbaker bought 180359609665 from upcomingtrend (see upcomingtrend Ebay Fake Flash Seller Alert – China ). Note all models have been investigated since that alert by SOSFakeFlash and confirmed fake.

bigdawgbaker-16GBFake01-upcomingtrend

bigdawgbaker resold this usb flash drive to an eBay member. Notice the British Flag? And also the UK seller? Watch out for this. It is an attempt to make you believe that buying from a local eBay seller is safe. You as much at risk from a local seller as you are from one in the orient. After all, where are these items made?

bigdawgbaker-16GBFake01

The victim tested with H2testw and got this result from the recycled fake purchased from upcomingtrend and sold by bigdawgbaker:

Warning: Only 16183 of 16184 MByte tested.
The media is likely to be defective.
1.9 GByte OK (4073164 sectors)
13.8 GByte DATA LOST (29069620 sectors)
Details:0 KByte overwritten (0 sectors)
0 KByte slightly changed (< 8 bit/sector, 0 sectors)
13.8 GByte corrupted (29069620 sectors)
0 KByte aliased memory (0 sectors)
First error at offset: 0x000000000a5d9420
Expected: 0x9ec8e6e3d3718420
Found: 0x3d91cdc7a6e32420
H2testw version 1.3
Writing speed: 9.04 MByte/s
Reading speed: 10.3 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4

How did the seller respond in the PayPal case?

Seller: You can report this to sosfakeflash but he does not test any of the products I sell. That test you have done is not an industry standard and means nothing. No refund wil be forthcoming.

You could face this from a fake flash seller. We would say then, what is the industry standard? Is there one? The fact is, H2testw was commissioned by a famous computer magazine site, after they got caught in fake usb flash drives. They had a promotion on and the prize was? USB Pen stick flash drives. So you can imagine how they felt! The software is copyrighted, but is given free to everyone to use for testing. They recognized the problem and c’t Magazin für Computertechnik is providing an important service to people around the world in offering it. It is currently at version 1.4 created by Herald Bögeholz. Victims of fake flash devices are very fortunately that the site and author of the software offer it. Their contribution against this devious fraud is highly respected by the FrankenFlash project. In 19 months of operation the project can only say one thing, time and time again when flash drives are opened, they only confirm what H2testw reported!

bigdawgbaker also bought 320380627749, 320380627509 from ebay fake flash seller digitalting0303, now suspended by ebay, See (digitalting0303 Ebay Fake Flash Seller High Alert Devious – Hong Kong ) for the original line up of items sold by digitalting0303.

bigdawgbaker-16GBFake02-digitalting0303

When the first victim continued to challenge in the PayPal case, bigdawgbaker replied:

Seller: These are tested by me and show the correct storage.

Okay, exactly how? In any case another Another victim fell into his trap buying:

bigdawgbaker-16GBFake02

The testing results from H2testw:

The media is likely to be defective.
1.8 GByte OK (3972781 sectors)
13.7 GByte DATA LOST (28760403 sectors)
Details:3.1 GByte overwritten (6625269 sectors)
1.5 KByte slightly changed (< 8 bit/sector, 3 sectors)
10.5 GByte corrupted (22135131 sectors)
16 KByte aliased memory (32 sectors)
First error at offset: 0x0000000032c64200
Expected: 0x0000000032c64200
Found: 0×0000000032864200
H2testw version 1.3
Writing speed: 2.58 MByte/s
Reading speed: 4.79 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4

Recall that bigdawgbaker said:

These are tested by me and show the correct storage.

He never said what he tested with and he was very careful in his words. He said “show the correct storage“. The emphasis is on “show”. That is exactly what fake flash devices are supposed to do, show the wrong size. Have you believe in the advertised size.

The usb flash drive in our example is one of the oldest and most classic fakes sold on eBay. This victim took the usb flash drive apart and photographed everything in detail:

01-h2testbigdawg

His test results in action.

02-bigdawgcomputerproperties

Indeed the operating system shows 16GB. That is what a fake flash usb drive is supposed to do. Lie!

03-bigdawgflash-small

Here is the drive. In fact the victim reported it was the same shipping envelope used by the original fake flash seller digitalting0303. bigdawgbaker was not very bright and extremely cheap. More evidence.

04-bigdawgflash1-small

The first step in opening this classic counterfeit.

05-bigdawgflash2-small

The usb flash drive disassembled. Note the pieces. You should always line up the parts in the order you take the drive apart to make it easier to put it back together again. The Pcb board in incased in the plastic shell at the right.

06-bigdawgflash3

Notice the 16GB sticker on the outer leatherette case. These stickers are the most damning. You can put any sticker you like. Real usb flash drives don’t use such a cheap method to indicate size. This is the most important warning bell for anyone who buys a usb flash drive. If you bought one that has a sticker like this, test immediately! It does not matter what the memory pen stick looks like, TEST!

07-bigdawgflash4

This is the side with the storage chip. In some cases you will have a hand written size in the sticker. One of the oldest members in the FrankenFlash project has a jar full of fakes that had 2GB written on the stickers! You will notice that the victim chose not to remove the sticker to continue decoding the storage chip. The reason is evidence, or “patina” – potential prosecution in a court of law. The markings for the serial are very faint. Not a good sign. The chip is old and potentially substandard quality. Note that is was supposed to be a 16GB usb flash drive. There is only one chip. A one chip usb flash drive at 16GB is very recent technology and expensive! This usb flash drive sold for about £19.55, originally purchased from ebay fake flash seller digitalting0303 at £11.98. bigdawgbaker had almost a 100% markup!

08-bigdawgflash5

The other side of the board, shows the usb controller.

09-bigdawgflash6

a closer look at the usb controller chip.

09-bigdawgflash6-MW6208E

MW6208E 1PL 370761-4 09HT0325

MW6208E controller chip! This is one of the most manipulated sub controller chips! InspectorTech finds that this is one of the most popular search that brings people to the fixfakeflash site searching for help on how to repair fakes that have this controller! It is a fake flash reprogrammers favorite! If you find with Chipgenius that you have a usb flash drive with MW6208 or any variations – Start worrying! TEST! You have a very high probability that you bought a fake usb flash drive!

Summary:

Depending on the usb flash drive model you purchased, it may or may not be easy to take apart. Be careful. Be Gentle. Try to have a good camera for close ups. Take the drive apart in the stages shown. Photograph the packaging. Photograph the steps. Make sure you take a picture of the storage chip. Write down on paper the serial identification information for the storage chip (rectangular square)and also the usb controller chip (small square chip). Try to search the internet for the flash drive chip. See the chip section at fixfakeflash. Check the manufacturers site. Be careful in understanding size. The standard is to use Gb. Note that is big “G”, followed by little “b” What does that mean? It means bits. It takes 8 bits to make a byte. So if the manufacturer says 16Gb, divide by / 8. That will give you the GB capacity.

Never fall for a seller saying Ophs, it passed QC, I don’t understand. So strange. It is nonsense. It is the favorite excuse! Never believe, oh oh, I am a victim too. A seller has a duty to inspect his merchandise. He is responsible for what he sells. False capacity usb flash drives, memory cards and MP Players lead to data and file loss. After all, where is the information supposed to go? There is no place to put it once the true size is exceeded.

H2testw is the best software to test the true capacity. SOSFakeflash has over 19 months of data and experience to prove it! If sellers or eBay or PayPal refuse to believe the evidence from the output. Tell them to “get real!”. Take your fake apart and photograph it! Step by step. If for some reason you decide to return it (sometimes people will in hope of a refund or if they bought a large quantity from a fake flash seller), your photographs remain your evidence. Always if you can, include the shipping envelope – front and back.

Should you feel you have no choice but to return the item in hope of a refund (Probability is against you) and you are willing to potentially break the laws of your postal system in doing so:

1. Photograph the return envelope, front and back.
2. Photograph handing in the envelope at the postal counter, explain your situation to the postal employee.
3. Make sure you clearly indicate on the envelope “Return of Counterfeit Merchandise ” to fake flash seller X under orders of PayPal.

PayPal will not like this. Tough. They are forcing you to commit a crime. The fake flash seller will not like this. Tough. Frequently a fake flash seller will say they will refund you if you photograph the return envelope. Let their hair stand up when they see you describing the item as a counterfeit. You can be sure they will get into trouble when it is seen by the local post office. That is not your concern, you have your photographic proof and even a postal employee receiving it. Most will be happy to oblige when you explain the black mail by the fake flash seller and also by PayPal. Everyone hates fraud. There are few who have not been a victim at one time or another.

The statistics at SOSFakeFlash say that the average bid price for a 16GB fake usb flash drive is currently about $16.62 US. Use this opportunity to fight back. Make sure that you take a photograph of the envelope stamped, just before they put it into the post. You have everyone on the hook with this, fake flash seller, eBay and PayPal.

In proving you have purchased a fake, it is important you document. Testing is important. Output results are important. Photographs are IMPORTANT! Reporting your fake to SOSFakeFlash is important, you will be registered in their database! See the Report A Fake tab. To make sure you get a refund, document, collect your evidence. You need to trap the fake flash seller, eBay, PayPal. If you bought your fake from any other source, these principals also apply. If you bought a “brand name” you can also do validation. See http://flashdrivefacts.wordpress.com/ and the validation category get the email response from the brand name. It is additional evidence!

The only way to fight this problem is to gather evidence. It helps you prove you have received a false capacity item! If you don’t like what happened to you and you believe it is wrong, you have an opportunity to do something about it. The only people who will stop this problem are the victims. To believe anything else is futile. The issue is over 5 years old, some say 7 years old. In the last 19 months victims have started to fight back – and progress is being made. Test and photograph. Document your case. Let law authorities know about it. If you bought from the orient, send a letter of protest to the local consul in your country or embassy too. Rule of thumb, one letter is 10,000 voices as few will actually take the time.

Use the internet to broadcast your message. You found this site because that is what victims did. Let others know!

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11 Responses to “Proving A Fake USB Flash Memory Pen Drive Stick Pen To Be False Capacity – A Visual Example – Guide Made Easy”

  1. Steve said

    H2TESTW is a good program but very slow for 32Gb (takes 8 hrs!). Instead try the CLEAN and TEST function of RMPREPUSB from Boot-land. This does a quick test (but wipes all data) of a 32gb pen in just a few minutes. It will reformat it too and make it bootable.

  2. NeilC said

    I’ve been advising plenty of people on ebay to get their money back from Paypal and not one has been refused. Seems to me Paypal are happy to pay back when you approach them in the right way. It’t small beer for them and keeps things quiet which is probably what they want.

  3. KittyFireFlash said

    NeilC,

    You are right on the button! It appears that PayPal is improving do some degree…. at the moment. There are not too many people complaining about email robots right now.

    We are not sure if this is temporary. SOSFakeFlash has been observing that when a frauded buyer does not let go, PayPal will cave in and return the money. It is very important that people make sure they get the full refund, it includes any postage and shipping fees, do not settle for less. Never negociate directly with a fake flash memory seller – open a dispute.

    If people need a refresher read: http://sosfakeflash.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/paypal-disputes-the-6-commandments-for-dealing-with-ebay-fake-flash-sellers/

    also see our Quick Links on the left menu for the PayPal Guide – the information comes from victims before you.

    Success in getting your refund comes from refusing to take No for an answer.

    Also never cave in to a fake flash memory seller who demands you revise your feedback. Send those emails to eBay! It is extortion and makes the sellers guilt clear. It is against eBay rules. Oddly they pay more attention to extortion then they do to the sale of fake flash memory products.

    If you left positive feedback for a fraudlent seller, make sure to do follow up feedback. It helps. If you left negative and PayPal refunded you, do follow up feedback advising of your refund, it encourages others!

  4. Thanks for exposing this. Its a good education for consumers

  5. RLC said

    I had a quick look at the web site that Buy Pen Drive in India points to.

    Which is http://www.foostor.com/ev/USB-Pen-Drives/15

    The site offers for sale HP flash drives that I cannot find listed on the HP.COM website. Does anyone know if the hp drives being sold on this site are geniune HP?

  6. [...] Proving A Fake USB Flash Memory Pen Drive Stick Pen To Be False Capacity – A Visual Example – Gu… [...]

  7. another ebayer said

    To be fair to Paypal they’re in an invidious position with trustworthiness of sellers and the feedback system has its limitations. However I’ll pass on my ebay experience. I’ve found Paypal will always respond to false Copyright/Trademark claims when they are clearly infringed but you have to know how to deal with the seller as I and others have discovered. An example was a Nokia phone battery advertised as genuine Nokia when it wasn’t (no hologram). I raised a dispute and immediately the seller claims ignorance and wants you to return it for a refund (standard paractice) Whatever you do DO NOT return it but respond via disputes system saying they can pick it up from the Manufacturer’s local agent who will be more than happy to speak with them. They always roll over and agree to a refund and don’t want the item back. [You might even decide to use the item until you get around to dropping it off at the manufacturer's agent ;) ] So with flash drives simply stick to branded items(eg Kingston, Sandisk, etc) and check their veracity upon delivery as discussed here. Should they turn out to be underdone via testing, clearly they are fake and raise a copyright dispute with the seller and Paypal as discussed. If enough of us do this, at the very least the fake brands will disappear, although that won’t stop the unbranded sleight of hand stuff.

  8. [...] Proving A Fake USB Flash Memory Pen Drive Stick Pen To Be False Capacity – A Visual Example – Gu… [...]

  9. [...] Proving A Fake USB Flash Memory Pen Drive Stick Pen To Be False Capacity – A Visual Example – Gu… [...]

  10. [...] In 2009, SOSFakeFlash published an interesting article on this leather fake. Proving A Fake USB Flash Memory Pen Drive Stick Pen To Be False Capacity – A Visual Example – Gu… [...]

  11. [...] A tear down shows the flash drive photographed in packaging, front and back, and disassembled (see: Proving A Fake USB Flash Memory Pen Drive Stick Pen To Be False Capacity – A Visual Example – Gu…) . It also involves opening a usb flash drive and decoding both the usb flash drive controller chip [...]

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