Everyone is on the lookout for bargains, especially in the current economic climate, which makes it even easier for the scammers to make easy money from selling fake USB memory devices. Despite the many articles on the TV and in the press, people are still falling victims of fraud.
The devices are manufactured to display the correct capacity, despite usually only containing a single smaller capacity flash chip. This allows them to save money when manufacturing the devices, in order to maximise profits.
The device firmware is programmed to use the single chip to write data to, wrapping back to start when a sector beyond its capacity is used. This overwriting of data will cause corruption of the file system, often formatted as FAT32 or exFAT, whereby the allocation table becomes corrupt.
By saving money during the manufacturing, they are offered at lower prices, making them very tempting for customers hoping to secure a bargain. Many of these devices are marked to look like well-known brands, making it difficult to distinguish them from the real thing.
It is a risk to buy cheap USB flash based devices. If the price appears too good to be true, the device may be a fake, which will lead to data loss if not detected until too late. Such devices are often found for sale on online shopping sites and market stalls.