What are Counterfeit SD Cards?

Many of us use SD or Secure Digital memory cards, but seldom do we check if the total capacity actually matches that specified on the card. According to the Counterfeit Report, several dishonest sellers on Alibaba, Amazon, eBay and other reputed sites offer deep discounts for high capacity cards. They use common serial numbers with cards and packaging nearly identical to the authentic products from all major SD card brands.

According to tests conducted by the Counterfeit Report, although the cards work, buyers usually purchase a card based on the specifications printed on it. What they think and buy as a 32GB SD card, may turn out to be a counterfeit with a capacity of only 7GB. Counterfeiters usually overwrite the real memory capacity, imprinting a false capacity figure to match any model and capacity they prefer. Usually, the actual memory capacity cannot be determined by simply plugging the card into a computer, phone or camera. Only when the phony card reaches its limit, it starts to overwrite files, leading to lost data.

According the Craig Crosby, publisher of the Counterfeit Report, such fake cards also come in capacities that do not exist in any product line and counterfeiters target mostly cards above 32GB. They make a great profit on selling fake cards, with practically no consequence.

Usually, people cannot make out counterfeit cards from real ones, until these stop working. Usually, the blame falls on the manufacturer for making faulty products. This may happen even if you buy from a major retailer, as counterfeiters buy genuine items, only to exchange them unopened with their fakes.

Although software packages are available to test whether the card capacity matches the specifications on its packaging, organizations find it time-consuming, especially if they have bought cards in bulk. Additionally, the problem is not with SD cards alone, counterfeiters make fake portable flash drives including USB sticks as well.

Although the SD Association does make standards and specifications for SD cards to promote their adoption, advancement and use, they do not monitor the trade of products such as SD memory cards. The responsibility of counterfeit SD cards falls in the realm of law enforcement.

Manufacturers of SD memory card products can contract with several SD standards-related organizations for different intellectual property related to SD standards. Additionally, SDA member companies can resort to compliance and testing tools for confirming their products meet the standards and specifications, providing assurance to users about interoperability with other products of similar nature.

Consumers, especially bulk purchasers, should be careful to buy from authorized resellers, distributors and sellers. The best resource for any enquiry is the manufacturer of the SD memory card product.

This malaise is not restricted to counterfeit SD cards alone. It is a part of a larger problem. According to the Counterfeit Report, several other items face the same situation. Phony items exist for iPhones, other smartphones, airbags and many other peripherals such as chargers. It is very difficult for consumers to make out the counterfeits and many are even unaware of the existence of such phony high-end items.