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fake hard drives

Don’t waste money on this tech rip-off on Amazon

Amazon is a great place to buy almost anything you need. There is usually an extensive selection of retailers selling similar items, so the prices are competitive. But every so often, a deal pops up that seemingly beats all others.

When it comes to technology and gadgets, bigger is usually better. You’re set for the next few years if you have a fast central processing unit, a more powerful graphics card and lots of RAM. Of course, you’ll also need a hard drive. Storage 101: How to keep your USB and external hard drives safe for years.

The problem is fake tech equipment has been showing up on Amazon recently. Read on for signs that tech isn’t what it’s supposed to be.

Here’s the backstory

All computers need a hard drive, but you sometimes want to go mobile or add more storage. For those situations, a perfect option is a portable hard drive. The more capacity it has, the better it is. Searching for the perfect hard drive on Amazon shouldn’t be challenging. That isn’t always the case, as Review Geek recently found out.

Portable drives can be relatively bulky, and the average capacity is around two to five terabytes (TB). You’ll rarely need more than that. One common format is a solid-state drive (SSD) which retails for between $50 and $100, depending on the brand and capacity.

“So when Amazon offers a 16TB external SSD hard drive for under $100, that sounds perfect,” explains Review Geek. But after a protracted process of ordering the drive and waiting for delivery, some things didn’t seem to fit.

The packaging looked off, several typos were in the text, and the specifications didn’t make sense. Already suspicious, the publication ran tests on the drive and found that it didn’t use a USB 3.0 connection as claimed but a USB 2.0 instead.

However, that’s the least concerning discovery. It turned out that the hard drive only had a capacity of 64GB, not 12TB, as advertised. Cracking open the case revealed not a solid-state drive but a microSD card slotted into a USB-C adapter. The whole device is fake!

What you can do about it

There are a few things that you can do to stay safe when shopping online, especially on Amazon. There is a tool called Fakespot, which is a free Chrome extension that detects fake reviews and alerts you of suspicious sellers. FakeSpot is also available as a free app for iOS and Android.

You can use Fakespot to shop on Amazon and other retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy. Here are more tips to avoid buying fake products.

  • Avoid buying from sellers that don’t have a good rating or purchasing brands that you aren’t familiar with.
  • Read the comments and reviews on products to see what other people say about them.
  • Be wary of product listings that seem exaggerated or too good to be true.

In the case of this bogus hard drive, Amazon explained that it could have been due to “review merging.” It’s against Amazon’s policy for sellers to merge the pages of two products to create a false impression. Fortunately, the bogus product has been removed from Amazon. But others are likely to show up at any time.

Keep reading

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