eBay Fake Flash Plague How Many Countries Have Been Impacted By Fake Flash Memory Cards – USB Drives – MP Players?

Posted on January 3, 2009 by

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eBay is one of the major distribution conduits on a global scale for fake (false capacity) flash memory cards, usb drives and MP Players. It has been for quiet a few years. The damage in data loss, financial loss and personal trauma to eBay members can not fully measured. Only eBay has the data, or so they would like to think.

The FrankenFlash Project is releasing in this article the countries and tallies reported for an eight month period. But first a little background on how it all started…

In April 2008 one member on eBay bought flash drives. The prices paid not cheap but reasonable. Shortly after receiving them trouble started. At first, this person thought the problem was the usb connection to the computer or the transfer speed. Faced with corrupted files over and over again even after repeatedly reformatting and seeing the squiggly characters many victims inaccurately refer to as “Chinese” for the file allocations table – the eBayer became both frustrated and intrigued.

Like so many victims, the early fake flash education began with internet searchs. Soon this member discovered the awful truth – fake usb flash drives had been purchased. This was confirmed when the drives were pried open and the actual flash drive chips sported quality control stickers certifying? 2GB. Not amused, the odyssey for Paypal refunds began. Every penny was returned – including shipping and handling. The sellers pleading for mercy were spared after they demonstrated victim status and promptly stopped listing these items. Naive. But these were not powerseller sharks and actually did suffer terrible financial loss by honouring their promise to STOP selling. It goes without saying that this eBay member patrolled to make sure they kept their word. They did. No, not one single item was ever sent back to the sellers. The postal system is not for traffic in counterfeit goods – sending or receiving.

Having bought fakes, the eBayer decided to see if the same drive was being sold by other sellers on eBay. They were! 3ToTrade was selling them. So the eBayer began contacting buyers and asking them to test. They did. Soon they began contacting eBayers and warning them to test. The rest is history now… The FrankenFlash Project was born!

Who was this eBayer? Well as time went by the inner circle gave this member the distinction “eBay Fake Flash Archangel”. Actually there are a number of them. Obviously we aren’t going to reveal who this person is, but we can say this person is a fake flash sellers worst nightmare – they sold to the wrong person. Intrigued? Exactly what we mean by the “wrong person” will probably be revealed some day.

The FrankenFlash Project set up satilite groups, the most famous is SOSFakeFlash. The first website appeared at the end of August 2008. In eight months data has been collected. It is very hard work – exhausting. Evidence disappears quickly on eBay. If a seller deregisters listings are gone. If a seller is suspended listings are gone. If a seller is powerful and caught by eBay, for some reason they sanitize the sellers recent listings – with only the fake flash devices sold being removed, the other merchandise history remains available. This says one thing – evidence disappears. If gone, then who is to say there was or is a problem? That is one of the reasons we are here. We have no intention of letting this happen. We can’t. It would be unfair the the victims and all they have been through.

The data and evidence we have collected so far is estimated to be a tiny fraction of the truth, about less then .00001% of the true traffic depth in fake and counterfeit flash device traffic on eBay. Still it is in our opinion, impressive enough.

It is very important for every victim of fake flash to report in to us. It is the only way to increase the evidence database, to spot new sellers and to demonstrate how deep the problem really is. You can find the information required on the “Report A Fake Tab” at http://sosfakeflash.wordpress.com/

Would you like to see all the countries fake flash devices from eBay have travelled to? Is your country one of them? Is your country under reported? How many fakes have been reported to us from the end of April 2008 to December 2008?

eBay Member Countries Receiving Fake Flash 200804-200812
Argentina 1
Armenia 1
Australia 82
Austria 3
Azerbaijan 17
Belgium 6
Bosnia and Herzegovina 6
Brazil 22
Bulgaria 10
Canada 56
Croatia 59
Cyprus 2
Czech Republic 30
Denmark 4
Estonia 2
Finland 20
France 38
Germany 6
Greece 11
Hong Kong 1
Hungary 2
India 2
Ireland 12
Israel 39
Italy 33
Latvia 27
Lithuania 2
Malaysia 1
Malta 4
Mexico 1
Moldova 1
Netherlands 36
New Zealand 61
Norway 1
Poland 2
Portugal 8
Puerto Rico 1
Romania 6
Russian Federation 2
Slovakia 10
Slovenia 1
South Africa 2
Spain 47
Sri Lanka 1
Sweden 33
Switzerland 8
Turkey 8
Ukraine 13
United Kingdom 342
United States 163

Remember this is about .00001% perhaps even less for the period in question. There are 50 countries in the list, but we know there are more.

You can make a difference by reporting your eBay fake flash at SOSFakeFlash – see the Report a Fake Tab.

We always need new Fake Flash Angels – how to be one? Just do what the first Fake Flash Angel did and described above. Have the members contacted and confirming fakes report in at SOSFakeFlash. The most effective way is for little independent groups to operate with one major contact reporting to us. It is easy to wear out, so get others to join you. It can actually be rewarding to see the seller who frauded you go down in flames. To be thanked by fellow members warned in time – spared from data loss – as you wish you had been.

While the listings for fake flash decreased dramatically as a result of our efforts it is starting to rise again. Mainly for 16GB flash drives. The fake flash sellers are panicking to get the drives out as international prices continue to drop for genuine drives. They are scaling back in their true capacity size, to older cheaper chips ranging from 512MB to 4GB and altering them to “appear” 16GB. You will rarely get a fake with a true capacity of 8GB anymore. No profit margin.

The goal is and always has been – drive fake and counterfeit flash off eBay. Collect data. If eBay and PayPal don’t address the situation eventually this database could march it’s way to court! The more data and evidence, the bigger the pitch fork is to get them to DEAL WITH THE ISSUE!

You can help by making the pitch fork grow….

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