Home Tech eBay Fake Capacity USB Sticks

eBay Fake Capacity USB Sticks

eBay Fake Capacity USB Sticks

Despite some amount of publicity, the problem of fake capacity flash drives being sold online has still not gone away. Recently we did a bit of consumer investigation and bought a few to test. Surely after two or three years eBay will have sorted this problem out?

fake capacity USB

What Are Fake Capacity Flash Drives?

If you’ve not heard of these before, a fake capacity flash drive is simply a small low capacity flash drive pretending to have (much) more storage. The clever / devious part is that they may have only 16GB of real storage, but can appear to the computer as anything up to 2TB. You will be able to copy data to the device, but only the first 16GB may be readable later. Some devices constantly overwrite the same 16GB while other just dump the rest of the data into a back hole

How Do I Know If My USB Drive is Fake?

There are not any strict rules, but you can start to build up a picture as you gather more information.

  1. Price -These flash drives will be WAY cheaper than anything you can buy in a retail store. We just bought 512GB flash drives for £10 and 1TB drives for £15. Currently a 64GB SD card is £32.48 at Novatech, so you can see how expensive real flash drives should be.

  2. Quality – Large capacity USB drives are relatively expensive. You’d expect them to be well made and probably well packaged. The fake drives usually come unbranded, in generic clear bags.

  3. Wording – Since these problems have been reported, some sellers are putting some disclaimers on the listings to suggest you should only use the devices for small amounts of data etc. This is obviously nonsense. If you buy a real 1TB of storage, you can use all 1TB.

  4. Testing – Although most people won’t be familiar with testing hardware, there are some pretty simple tools to test USB drives. They write patterns of data to the chosen device and then read it back again to make sure it was written correctly. USB Test Tool (It’s German, but also runs in English)

What To Do If You Have A Fake Capacity Flash Drive

Most online marketplaces like eBay have pretty robust buyer protection to allow you to claim a refund. The advice for making claims varies with each website so you may need to hunt around, or contact the site directly. Although eBay are more than happy to organise refunds, they show little interest in stopping the sale of these devices. We’ve spoken to eBay customer services a number of times and they said that their system will flag up if enough people make returns.

fake capacity USB

You Often Don’t Know Until It’s Too Late

It’s a bad idea to keep using one of these USBs. If you detect a fake capacity, you may think it’s OK to just use it for small amounts of data but it’s not a good idea. The problem is that as you use and delete files, you could gradually start edging towards the limit of the storage. The next file you write could just go into the black hole, and the data is lost. In fact, many people don’t realise their flash drive is a fake until they exceed the “genuine” part of the storage. If you were copying photographs to the USB drive, you might not notice that some of them are missing until you try to read them again much later.

Not Just Memory Sticks

These same types of fake flash drives also appear as SD cards so we’ve heard from people that were at weddings or on their honeymoon and lost all or most of the photos.

fake capacity USB

A guest blog post from Data Quest, Data Recovery Services from Experts in Portsmouth.



Posted in Tech

Author -

Published on 15 Jun 2017

Last updated on 15 Jun 2017


  • james mille - 07 Jun 2021

    my wife just bought one, as a surprise gift, but knew it was a fake as soon as it arrived.. these things however are very skilfully manufactured, & it is important to mention they also have a controller chip, which dictates everything, to do with formatting & partitioning, thus fools the computer phone, etc, giving the impression that it is is GENUINE. When one buys a 1- 2TB drive, it could take years, before the scam victim, would find out. let's assume however folks whom buy these huge capacity flash or now USB SSD, will most probably intend to transfer massive movie,& music files, like me, so if that is the case, then make sure your initial transfer is around 75-100 gigabytes.it will immediately struggle to transfer that amount with transfer speeds of 2 -4 Mbs /S taking days to complete, but after 20% of the files have been transferred, the error pop ups begin, as your USB SSD has actually reached its actual capacity....then the vendor will ask you to transfer small amounts of data eg 1 Gig at a time, just to fool you, so beware of their tricks. there is at least 10 free / trial software progs, which will root these fakes out very quickly, best is a program called AIDA,64 engineer / extreme, which is a free 30 days trial period, which will scan your drive, then after an hour or so it will stop, after it has scanned the real capacity of the drive,. Chip Genius, is also good, & usually alerts you that these USB 3 drives are actually USB 2. i tried this though, using Diskpart on power shell, i created a 16 gig primary partition, & then exited it however i returned to Diskpart, to create a 2nd partition, of 16Gig, i then got the message ' there is NOT enough space, to create another 16Gig partition &/ or the remaining space is corrupted,& unusable.. That means the real drive capacity is only 16 Gigabytes maximum. the DISKPART required commands can be found on you tube my friends, & they are not as difficult as i thought they would be. Lastly I have no doubt,, that each one of us, have said to ourselves, what if these are genuine, even thought these prices determine otherwise. time a big bunch of us combine & buy these things ,from Ebay but forewarn them , before we actually buy them.. sincere & kind regards jim

  • Jim Baulch - 15 Jun 2021

    What I have noticed with these drives is when you fill the drive up with movies etc,you cant play the movie as it wont open up same with some pictures and some music,drive tells you it is there but wont open up.So if you dont fill the drive up you may be fine.


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