How to Spot a Fake MicroSD Card and Avoid Being Scammed
Wish.com is an e-commerce site offering fantastic deals on a mind-blowing range of items. You can grab anything from night-vision goggles and underwear to Bluetooth adapters and dog seatbelts for your car.
The site, founded by former Google and Yahoo programmers, has caught the eye of keen deal seekers.
Something else caught my eye: microSD cards. MicroSD cards with massive volume sold exceptionally cheap. As it turns out, the vast majority of these cards are fake. They work in your device but show a fake volume. Sellers are scamming buyers.
Here’s how you avoid fake microSD cards.
What Does a Fake MicroSD Card Look Like?
The following image is an advert on Wish.com for a Huawei 512GB Class 10 MicroSD card. (Class 10 means it is really fast.) Now, there are a few problems with the image. Can you figure them out?
Huawei doesn’t make microSD cards.
That’s it; that is the issue with the image. Chinese tech giant, Huawei, don’t make microSD cards for general sale. They do make proprietary Nano-Memory Cards that work with their devices, but they’re a different beast altogether (and don’t come in this size, as far as I know).
Want another example? The next example is a Verbatim 512GB Class 10 MicroSD card. Why is this one difficult?
Verbatim does not make 512GB microSD cards (at least, they don’t at the time of writing).
The Verbatim 512GB microSD card is trickier because Verbatim does make memory cards. You can find their products on the internet, lending the fake advert some credibility.
Here’s your final example.
On offer is an “Original MicroSD Card.” The memory card doesn’t even carry a specific brand. However, the microSD card has been very carefully designed to mimic the design of another technology giant. See how the Wish.com Original MicroSD Card listing steals the design of the official Samsung EVO Plus memory card?
You should note that Wish.com is far from the only site selling microSD cards with fake memory. eBay is awash with counterfeit microSD cards. Even Amazon has sold (and occasionally still does sell) fake microSD cards through its third-party seller scheme.
If you want to shop on Wish.com, check out these tips on how to do so safely .
How Do They Fake the MicroSD Card Volume?
Spotting a fake microSD isn’t always easy. Manufacturers are adept at copying designs. It isn’t just the design copy you have to worry about.
The advertised volume is also a complete fabrication.
The scammers modify the microSD card controller to falsify the card volume. When you plug the microSD card into your system it appears as a 512GB microSD. But once you start writing data to the drive, you’ll find:
- There is not enough space for your data
- Your existing data starts being overwritten
- The card crashes or corrupts, locking you out
Simply put, these cards are dangerous for your data.
How to Check a Fake MicroSD Card
All in all, it sounds pretty bad. However, if you have already bought a microSD card from Wish.com, you can run through a few checks to figure out the true capacity of the drive in your hands. Here are three tools to help you out.
FakeFlashTest is a utility that checks the true capacity of a flash drive. The same team develops FakeFlashTest as USB multiboot tool, RMPrepUSB. There are many fake microSD testing tools out there, but FakeFlashTest is easily one of the fastest around. It offers a couple of different tests, too.
You can use the Quick Size Test to quickly ascertain if a drive is fake or not. The Quick Size Test writes and reads 512 bytes at random segments across the drive. If the write/read process fails, it displays in the log. If you prefer an in-depth analysis, the Test Empty Space option writes and reads to all available space on the drive, then compares the difference.
As mentioned, FakeFlashTest is newer than most other similar tools and therefore is optimized for the job.
Download: FakeFlashTest for Windows (Free)
H2testw is the go-to tool for most people when checking the status of a microSD. However, it was developed years ago, and with the increase in drive capacity, the primary test can take quite a while to complete. That doesn’t mean it is a bad tool. Far from it. H2testw remains one of the best options available for testing a fake microSD card.
Like FakeFlashTest, H2testw checks the free space on the drive by writing files to all available space on the device, then reading them back.
Download: H2testw for Windows (Free)
Chip Genius is different from the other tools. Instead of writing data to your device and reading it back, ChipGenius reads information directly from the flash memory inside the card. In that, ChipGenius is by and large the fastest option of all.
After you run ChipGenius, scroll down to the detailed information. Somewhere in the information, it will state “Total Capacity = 16GB” or whatever the real capacity of your microSD card.
Download: ChipGenius for Windows (Free)
Are Fake MicroSD Cards Worthless?
If you bought a 512GB microSD card on Wish.com and paid $10, you might want to ask for your money back. Chances are they’ll offer a refund, and you can keep the fake microSD card. After all, they’re being sold in the knowledge they’re fake.
The fake microSD card isn’t worthless though. Once you figure out the real size of the memory using one of the tools above, you can set to work making that memory usable. After all, you have paid for it, and maybe even received the money back.
Fix Fake MicroSD Card Using DiskPart
DiskPart is an integrated Windows disk partition utility. You can run it using the Command Prompt, and it is an easy way to make the fake microSD usable.
- First, open This PC. Make a note of the microSD card drive letter.
- Input command into your Start menu search bar, select the best match, then right-click and select Run as administrator.
- Now, type diskpart, then list volume.
- Input select volume [your drive letter]. You’re now going to shrink the drive to the real memory size. Please note the following command works in megabytes. For instance, if you want to decrease the drive size by 1GB, you would type “1000.”
- Input shrink desired [number of megabytes], and press Enter. For instance, if you bought a 512GB drive but its capacity is actually 8GB, you could type “shrink desired 504000.” The command will decrease the capacity by 504,000MB (504GB), leaving the 8GB of working memory.
Reduce the drive to just below the volume of working memory. So, if you have an 8GB drive, use the shrink desired command to reduce to 7.9GB. Even though the drive volume is now within its working range, the microSD card controller remains the same. Thus, if you hit the 8GB limit, your data could well begin overwriting the drive.
Once you have settled on a size, head back to This PC. Right-click the microSD card and select Format. Wait for it to complete. Voila, you have a working microSD card. Not quite the 512GB you thought, but better than nothing.
Avoid Deals That Are Too Good to Be True
If a deal seems too good to be true, there’s a solid chance it is.
As you have seen, there are hundreds of thousands of fake microSD cards on the market. It is easy to find them, too. It isn’t that people are clicking on dodgy adverts or using a shady online retailer. Fake microSD cards end up in the listings of global retailers, too.
Do you still need a microSD card? Here are mistakes you can avoid when buying your next microSD card. For a safe bet, pick an option from our roundup of the fastest and best microSD cards .
Image Credit: nanaplus/Depositphotos