Avoiding Fake Computer Peripheral Con Cases

Avoiding Fake Computer Peripheral Con Cases

No one likes to be conned but unfortunately many innocents are still falling prey to con people who betray their trust.

This article serves as to highlight on con cases are appearing in the IT Retail industry.

Case Study

The following is a case that just happened over the weekend during PC Fair. Original thread is at lowyat.net.

The images were used with permission from the person who started the thread a.k.a. owner of the pictures.

Avoiding Fake Computer Peripheral Con Cases

As you can see from the above, the weights were used to make the product feel solid. An empty case would be very light so those steel bolts and such were of much help to convince would-be buyers that the item is legitimate, and leaving some room for some wiring. I suspect that one leads to a 512MB flash memory (cheap), in case anyone wants to test the item. It’ll probably have the LED blinking and showing a figure that’s close to the disk size.

Going by logic, most people are hasty during purchase so people would see 512 and ignore the MB part. I’m not sure how this one works as I did not view every post on the thread no asked the person involved. Regardless the logic, it’s still a con case.

*INFO from others #1 : The flash storage in the drive actually comes with some sort of compression software that allows you to store more stuff. There are also fake USB drive that shows 100GB but could store only 1GB.

Avoiding Fake Computer Peripheral Con Cases

As you can see from the photo above, the case looks real. The product packaging looks real. And from the image below, the company details as well.

Avoiding Fake Computer Peripheral Con Cases

Take note on how dodgy is the receipt. No brand. Nothing. Just “500GB HD” when its actually “Western Digital 500GB External Hard Disk”. I think that the BRAND and DEVICE TYPE should at least be clear.

Can people do anything about it? I doubt it, you could report to the event organizer or even the police but the possible counter argument is that the user had meddled with the device and has ill-intent to defame the company. The victim has little to no evidence other than a receipt that says NOTHING about the product, other than the 500GB being the only part correct.

Avoiding Con

1. If the price is too good to be true, just be careful. There are some items that are offered at bargain price but I find it’s always best to check the goods in detail before parting your money. Some goods (eg external hard disk as in this case) are easier to manipulate than a monitor.

2. Buy items that are SEALED. Most products come properly sealed. In my case, my Buffallo external hard disks’ product packaging were sealed well so if the packaging is tampered, you can raise your alarm.

3. Test the item. In cases like this one, you could actually test it before parting your money. However, be wary of cases as seen in this article.

4. Don’t let the goods leave your sight! The swap could happen when you’re not looking, eg “Oh wait, I’ll bring the goods to the back to something”. Yup, you could have tested it and verified that it is a working condition hard disk that just came out of the box BUT they can just swap it at the back and you’ll still have no proof that it’s legitimate.

5. Buy from reputable retail shops.

6. Don’t buy at PC Fair (or any other fair)!! 😀 LOL ok this may sound like I’m Anti-PC Fair but before you draw any conclusion, please read the My Thoughts On PC Fair article. To be fair about the fair – I shouldn’t say “Don’t buy” but rather I should say you should be aware that computer stuff are sold at good price even without PC Fair, and not at PC Fair.

You see, PC Fair is where the general public thinks that computer stuff are the cheapest. This is not true. Just go to places like Lowyat Plaza or Digital Mall PJ and the prices are just as good as PC Fair on ANY given day. Furthermore you need not wrestle your way through the hordes of clueless visitors. It’s pretty much like a hamster cage filled with thousands of hamsters. Everyone going around hunting for the best deal.

The unethical sellers as such, often prey on the clueless visitors’ state of mind that “PC FAIR, GOOD BARGAIN!”. Just give them the price lower than usual, tell them it’s the last unit available – VOILA!! You got their attention, it’s just a matter of whether the person decide to bite the bait.

Take care! Hope all of you learn from this.

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5 Comments

  1. I was once bought an thumb drive from a photo-processing shop. It was cheap but then I can’t read the file that wrote to it, I return the fake thumb drive next day, and they give me another one, same brand and model. Again, it still have the same problem. Luckily I keep on going back to the shop for a few times, they decided to give me a real one, another brand which actually cost more than I bought, but they don’t dare to charge me extra. Moral of the story, buy from the shop near to your house. You can always bug them everyday. 🙂

  2. Author

    Well, at least you manage to get the right one.

    Imagine those who paid more and get nothing. Eg this case, RM 185 for a drive. It’s still money. Every time these things happen, first country that come to mind is China. 😛

  3. Easy way to avoid getting ripped off with equipment like this is to follow a basic rule and never purchase from Asians.

  4. Author

    Er, I think that comment is down-right stupid. What makes you think con case doesn’t happen when sellers are non-Asians?

  5. Just to clarify , the way how they fool the system thinking it has more storage is a combination of hardware and software. As for hardware , they hardwire the USB drive as you can see above to itscontroller. What this does is that it loops , it creates an illusion that large files are being copied , only small portion of it is copied.

    As for the software , there are few softwares which has been installed. However I have not stumbled across of these fake usb drive that uses software method , it can be done. But generally its better to trick em using hardware method as it would work across all devices , it can even fool the BIOS !

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