real or fake memory cards

How to Avoid Buying Fake Memory Cards: Five Methods to Detect Fake Cards



In this article, we will explore the concept of expansion cards, commonly known as fake memory cards, and explain why they are considered counterfeit. We will provide detailed information on how to avoid purchasing these deceptive products and how to identify the characteristics of expansion cards. This topic is particularly relevant due to the widespread presence of expansion cards across the globe. Specifically, in Taiwan, it is quite easy to encounter these dubious products on various auction platforms. A simple search for “memory card” often yields numerous results featuring suspiciously cheap and high-capacity cards.

The proliferation of online shopping has revolutionized the way people purchase essential items, making it convenient to buy everything from groceries to electronics from the comfort of their homes. However, this convenience also brings significant risks, especially when it comes to purchasing 3C products (computers, communications, and consumer electronics) online. The allure of low prices and high capacities can easily lure unsuspecting consumers into buying fake memory cards, leading to frustration and potential data loss. Therefore, it is crucial to exercise caution and vigilance to avoid falling victim to such scams. This article aims to equip readers with the knowledge and tools needed to make informed decisions and safeguard themselves against purchasing counterfeit memory cards.


What Are Expansion Cards?

Expansion cards, also known as fake memory cards, are memory cards that have been tampered with to display a higher storage capacity than they actually possess. These modifications are carried out using illegal methods or programs that alter the card’s firmware, deceiving the computer or device into recognizing the card as having a much larger capacity. For instance, an 8GB memory card can be manipulated to appear as though it has a capacity of 128GB.

However, this additional space is non-existent and unusable. When you attempt to store files that exceed the actual capacity of the memory card, the data becomes corrupted. This can result in various issues, such as files becoming unreadable, images failing to open, or videos being unplayable. Essentially, any data stored beyond the true capacity of the card is at risk of becoming completely inaccessible.

The practice of selling expansion cards is highly fraudulent and unethical. Dishonest sellers modify these cards with falsified information to sell them at prices that reflect the purported larger capacity, thereby making significant illicit profits. The discrepancy between the displayed capacity and the actual capacity is a clear indicator of fraud. For example, if you purchase a memory card labeled as 128GB but it only provides 16GB of actual storage, you have been deceived into buying a fake card.

The repercussions of using an expansion card can be severe. Not only do you lose money on a product that does not perform as advertised, but you also risk losing valuable data. Imagine storing important documents, cherished photos, or crucial video files, only to find out later that they are irretrievably corrupted due to the card’s limited true capacity. This can be particularly devastating for professional photographers, videographers, or anyone relying on memory cards for critical data storage.

Moreover, expansion cards often exhibit other signs of poor quality. They might have inferior build quality, slower read and write speeds, and a higher likelihood of failure. These issues further compound the risks and frustrations associated with these counterfeit products.

To avoid falling victim to this scam, it is essential to purchase memory cards from reputable sources. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true, as significantly lower prices for high-capacity cards are often a red flag. Additionally, it is advisable to thoroughly test any new memory card to ensure it performs as expected before trusting it with important data. Tools and software are available that can verify the true capacity of memory cards, and using these tools can help identify expansion cards before they cause any damage.

In summary, expansion cards are deceptive products that misrepresent their true storage capacity, leading to data corruption and loss. By understanding the risks and taking precautions, consumers can protect themselves from purchasing and using these fraudulent memory cards. Always choose reliable retailers and verify the authenticity of memory cards to ensure you are getting the genuine product you need.


How to Detect If Your Memory Card Is an Expansion Card?

Detecting whether a memory card is an expansion card (fake memory card) is crucial to avoid data loss and ensure you are getting what you paid for. Here are some effective methods to identify these fraudulent cards:

Method 1: Fill and Reload Test

One of the simplest methods to detect an expansion card is to fill the memory card with various files and then reload it.


  1. Fill the Card: Copy a variety of files (photos, videos, documents) to the memory card until it reaches its advertised capacity.
  2. Unmount the Card: Safely eject or unmount the card from your device.
  3. Reinsert and Check: Reinsert the card into your device and check if all the previously stored files can be opened normally.

Why It Works:

Expansion cards claim to have more storage than they actually possess. When the actual capacity is exceeded, new files will overwrite the existing data, leading to file corruption. If you cannot open all files after reloading, it indicates the card is an expansion card.



Method 2: Check the Model Number

Inspect the memory card for a laser-etched model number. Certain model numbers have been reported by netizens to be commonly associated with expansion cards.

Known Suspicious Models:


If your memory card has one of these model numbers, it is highly likely an expansion card.

Real-World Examples


Example 1: 64GB Fake Card

  • Appearance: The card had obvious scratches upon arrival, indicating poor quality.
  • Model Number: The back showed “MMB3D08BUACA-GE.” The “08” suggests it was originally an 8GB card.

Example 2: 128GB Fake Card

  • Appearance: The card was rough and similar to a well-known brand’s design.
  • Model Number: The back showed “16B,” suggesting it was originally a 16GB card.

Method 3: Careful Observation of Model Numbers

Even if your memory card’s model is not in the known suspicious list, carefully observe the model number.


  1. Check Model Number: Ensure the model number logically corresponds to the advertised capacity.
  2. Compare with Advertised Capacity: For example, a card advertised as 64GB should have a model number suggesting it has 64GB.

Method 4: Packaging Inspection

Inspect the packaging to ensure it matches the product inside.

Common Discrepancies:

  • Branding Mismatch: Packaging says “Ultra,” but the card says “Extreme.”
  • Class Mismatch: Packaging indicates “Class 10,” but the card is labeled “Class 4.”
  • Type Mismatch: Packaging states “MicroSDHC,” but the card is labeled “SDXC.”

Any such mismatches are strong indicators that the card is fake.

Method 5: Use Computer Detection Tools

If the above methods are inconclusive, use computer detection tools to verify the memory card’s capacity.

Recommended Tool: MyDiskTest


  1. Download MyDiskTest: Install the software on a computer (preferably on Windows XP for full functionality).
  2. Insert the Card: Insert the memory card into the computer.
  3. Run the Test: MyDiskTest will automatically prompt to test the card once it is read.

Test Results:

  • Quick Expansion Test: The software will show green and red indicators to represent the actual versus claimed capacity.
  • Example: A card claiming 128GB but testing at 16GB will have red indicators showing the discrepancy.

Speed Test Analysis

Expansion cards often have significantly lower read/write speeds than advertised.

Example Test:

  • Advertised Speed: Seller claims read speed of 90MB/s and write speed of 60MB/s.
  • Test Results: Actual write speed is 8MB/s, and read speed is 22MB/s, confirming the card is fake.

Comparison: Real vs. Fake Memory Cards

Here’s a comparison table to help you distinguish between real and fake memory cards:

Feature Real Memory Card Fake Memory Card
Appearance High-quality, no visible scratches Poor quality, visible scratches
Model Number Matches the advertised capacity Often misleading or irrelevant
Packaging Consistent with product Mismatched information
Actual Capacity Matches the advertised capacity Lower than advertised
File Integrity Files remain intact Files get corrupted beyond real capacity
Speed Meets advertised speed Much slower than advertised
Software Verification Passes all tests Fails capacity and speed tests

Additional Tips to Avoid Fake Memory Cards

  1. Buy from Reputable Sellers: Purchase memory cards from well-known retailers or directly from the manufacturer’s official store.
  2. Check Reviews: Read customer reviews and ratings before purchasing, especially looking for comments about the card’s authenticity.
  3. Use Trusted Brands: Stick to well-known brands like SanDisk, Kingston, and Samsung. These brands have a lower incidence of counterfeit products.
  4. Verify Upon Arrival: Immediately test any new memory card upon arrival using the methods outlined above.
  5. Avoid Deals that Are Too Good to Be True: If the price seems too low for the capacity offered, it’s likely a fake.



Avoiding the purchase of fake memory cards can save you from the frustration and potential data loss associated with these fraudulent products. The simplest and most effective way to ensure you are buying a genuine memory card is to avoid deals that seem too good to be true. In essence, if a memory card is significantly cheaper than the average market price for its claimed capacity, it is likely a fake. This principle not only applies to memory cards but to all products where authenticity and quality are critical.

In Taiwan, genuine memory cards from authorized distributors come with distributor stickers on the back of the product packaging. These stickers are an indication of authenticity and provide a layer of assurance that the product has passed through proper quality control channels. When purchasing, always prioritize these options and check for the presence of these stickers. However, it is equally important to remain vigilant about fake distributors who might also use counterfeit stickers to deceive buyers. Ensuring you buy from well-known and reputable retailers or directly from the manufacturer’s official outlets can further reduce the risk of purchasing a counterfeit product.


Take Action Now to Safeguard Your Data!

Protecting yourself from purchasing fake memory cards is crucial, and the steps to do so are straightforward yet effective. Begin by educating yourself about the common signs of counterfeit memory cards. Familiarize yourself with the methods of detecting expansion cards as discussed in this guide. When shopping, always prioritize quality over low price. Remember, a deal that seems too good to be true usually is.

Next time you are in the market for a memory card, take a moment to inspect the product thoroughly. Look for authorized distributor stickers, verify model numbers, and use detection tools if necessary. By doing so, you safeguard your valuable data and ensure a smooth, hassle-free experience with your memory card.

Share this knowledge with friends and family. Help them avoid the pitfalls of buying fake memory cards. By spreading awareness, you contribute to reducing the market for these fraudulent products. Stay informed, shop wisely, and protect your digital assets from the risks associated with fake memory cards. Your vigilance is the key to a secure and reliable digital experience.

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