There’s nothing like buying stuff online at the comforts of your own couch, which is much more convenient and sometimes even cheaper than buying from a physical store.
But with all of the good it brings, online shopping also carries the risk of you being scammed or not getting the value for your money. Especially when buying tech and hardware online, this risk runs high and your faulty purchase might even be potentially dangerous to your system.
MicroSD cards are one of the most popular devices sold on these online platforms, with tens of thousands of units sold at extremely low prices.
A 256GB microSD card for Php400, anyone? But as it turns out, most of these bargain buys are scams or at least not what they are marketed to be. What’s worse is that using a fake microSD card could mean corrupting your data or compromising your system forever.
Here are the things that you need to know about fake microSD cards, like what it can do to damage your data to how you can spot and avoid purchasing a fake microSD card. We’ll also talk about what you can do to salvage a fake microSD card if you’ve already bought one.
Why should you double-check your microSD card purchases?
If you are planning to buy a microSD card for your device, what you probably have in mind is a large place where you can store much more of your data securely. However, buying a fake SD card could actually be dangerous by potentially corrupting your data to a state you can no longer retrieve.
Because they do not actually carry the storage they claim to have, some microSD cards may actually start overwriting your existing data so they can continue storing new data. Other SD cards are faulty and may lead to it frequently crashing or getting corrupted, leaving you no access to your data.
While some fake microSD cards do not cause problems like these, they do have card volumes much smaller than what they market. They might just have a quarter or even less of the storage that they claim to have. Instead of getting a bargain buy, you might end up spending a lot more than what the fake microSD card is actually worth. That’s a scam that we all want to avoid.
How to spot fake microSD card deals
Avoid deals that are too good to be true.
When you see a big storage microSD card being sold at an insanely low price, that should already be a point for concern. Original tech purchases like SD cards and mobile phones do not frequently go on markdowns, and when they do, they slash only a small fraction of the original price. Very rarely will you find original, legitimate microSD cards being sold at the exceptionally cheap price points of fake SD cards.
A good rule of thumb is to stay clear of these listings that claim to have so much more than what they are priced to be. More often than not, they will turn out to be scams with bad value for your money.
Confirm the accuracy of the deal’s details like the brand, storage size, design, etc.
Because you are ordering online, you have no way of physically determining the quality and the reliability of your microSD card. However, there are some clues that you can get just by looking at the listing or the photos presented on the listing. Some of the things you need to look for are the brand, storage size, and card design, among others.
For example, if you see a listing for a Huawei 256GB microSD card, that is most definitely a fake SD card because Huawei does not sell separate microSD cards. If you also see an unbranded microSD card that copies the design of another brand like Samsung Plus EVO, that is a major red flag that that model is a knockoff.
Use desktop tools to check your microSD Card’s actual storage.
It isn’t always easy to detect fake memory cards out of the pile. These bogus manufacturers can be so adept at making their listings and products look legit that the only way you can know if the SD card is a fake is by checking out its actual capacity. Here are some tools to help you check whether a card is fake or not.
#1 FakeFlashTest (Free)
FakeFlashTest is a tool you can use to quickly determine whether an SD Card is faulty or fake. You can use the Quick Size Test to write and read through different segments of the drive. Any error in the read/write process will be shown in an error log, and this most certainly means that your SD card is faulty.
#2 ChipGenius (Free)
In determining the memory card’s actual storage, you can use ChipGenius. This tool directly reads the info from the card’s flash memory, where you can see the card’s actual total capacity.
How can you fix a fake microSD card and make its storage usable?
Having a fake microSD card in hand doesn’t mean it goes straight to the trash. In fact, far from it, because you can easily salvage your memory card and make its actual storage usable.
To do this, you only need to know your SD card’s actual storage and then run DiskPart, a Windows disk partition utility already found in your system.
Step 1: From This PC, take note of the microSD card’s drive letter.
Step 2: Open Command Prompt by typing cmd in the Start menu search bar. Select Run as administrator.
Step 3: In Command Prompt, type diskpart, and then type list volume.
Step 4: Type select volume [your SD card’s drive letter].
Step 5: Type shrink desired [your SD card’s claimed size – its actual size (in megabytes)]. This shrinks the drive into its actual capacity.
For example, if you have a 256GB memory card that actually only has 16GB capacity, you can type in shrink desired 240100 to reduce the drive to 15.9GB. It’s recommended to shrink the card to just below the working memory to prevent overwriting your data when the max capacity has been reached.
- Go back to This PC.
- Right-click the SD Card’s drive and select Format.
After it completes, you now have a working microSD card with usable storage. It may not be the big space that you thought you were going to have, but at least you still got something from the purchase.
Did we miss anything? Do you have any stories about fake microSD cards? Share them with us below.