Q. I was given a 128-gigabyte Kingston flash drive. The drive stopped working last week. I contacted Kingston Technical Support. I was told that the drive is counterfeit. Kingston can’t do anything about it. Is there an easy way to spot fake flash drives online? Thanks!
-Michael from Waco, TX, listens to my national radio show on KWTX 1230 AM
A. Counterfeit flash drives and memory cards are a serious concern. They are appearing with increasing frequency. And they’re even showing up in reputable establishments.
The ones in reputable stores are almost impossible to detect. That’s because they come from the manufacturer itself. Well, they come from the manufacturer’s employees.
Manufacturers don’t use all the flash memory that they make. Some of it doesn’t pass quality tests. The flash memory may be too slow. It could be prone to errors. They throw out those parts.
Unscrupulous employees will rescue the defective memory. They’ll package it up with legitimate labels and boxes. Then they sell it as genuine for a tidy profit.
You won’t know that a card or drive is fake until it fails. They usually fail within days or weeks. Your counterfeit flash drive lasted much longer than usual, Michael.
Fortunately, when you purchase from a store or reputable dealer, you can get a refund. They’ll also be glad to know if some of their product is counterfeit. That keeps them from selling poor product.