Reality Check Memory Stick Scam

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Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
In modernising my ability to get online, I’ve recently acquired a new laptop and various peripherals, such an external hard drive, an SSD to replace the exhausted HDD in my old laptop, an ergonomic mouse and a couple of bargain-priced memory sticks.

I inadvertently ordered a 1TB memory stick from a Chinese trader. It took 20 days to reach me, but I was in no hurry. The accompanying paperwork (minimal) and plugging it into a USB stated that it was a 2 TB stick. There’s no lettering or numbers on it, which should have been a clue to me that all was not as it should be, for, after all, how would the vendor organise thousands of anonymous shiny aluminium memory sticks that all look the same?


I was a bit suspicious of its small size, as the 2 TB external hard drive I bought is as big as an iPhone. Nevertheless, it appeared to function OK, so I transferred 600 music files to it, checking that they opened and played as I went along.

Pleased with the memory stick, I ordered another one from a Chinese trader, this time in gold! It was a mere £3.86, some eight quid cheaper than British eBay sellers.


Doubts about my purchases rushed in when I went to access files. With the first memory stick on the old laptop, suddenly I received a warning message that files were inaccessible owing to unknown file types OOO and OOOX...huh, what are they?

Still hopeful (stupid), figuring I’d done something wrong, which I’d sort out later, I continued to use the latest gold memory stick to add files to from my old laptop, which I meant to transfer to the new laptop. Except, that when I went to transfer them, the memory stick became stubborn, not letting me do anything. I can open all the files and read them, but it’s as they’re glued in place.

Panicking, I looked online for solutions, stumbling across two YouTube videos that I wish I’d watched before buying the memory sticks:

To summarise what the tester Atomic Shrimp says, there’s no way that the memory sticks are 2 TB, that it’s a scam; the strange OOO & OOX files types are the result of an endless loop of overwriting, which may have destroyed my files.

As Atomic Shrimp states, the websites allowing these memory sticks to be sold are essentially complicit in allowing fraud to take place. He got his purchase cost refunded, which I’m going to attempt with eBay.

Thinking about the whole scam, I’m fortunate not to have infected my new laptop with malware. The thing is, so many computer peripherals are made in China. It’s usually not stated in the product description, as it’s so expected. Memory sticks are much alike. When did you last see a memory stick that was made in your home country? You probably haven’t.

My ignorance of IT contributed to the situation, but I’ve still got sayings like “Never give a sucker an even break” and “If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t” running through my brain.

I hate technology sometimes!


One thing I always do when transferring files from my PC is to make a "copy" on the new disk, USB or whatever, and then make a second copy on another device. I make sure both saving devices work and only then delete the files from the PC if I need to.
Argh....nightmare. Hope you get your money back and that all your files are okay.

I'm looking for safe ways of accessing my files, nervous of inviting malware onto my new laptop. As for a refund, eBay insists that I first contact the vendors of the memory sticks, who are in Shanghai and Hong Kong, so I'm not confident I'll get anywhere with them. If they refuse or ignore me, then I can appeal to eBay themselves for a refund via PayPal.

What pisses me off about this whole situation, is that eBay must know that traders are selling fake memory sticks, yet they allow it to happen, taking their % of the sale. It's not just sellers in the Far East doing this, as British sellers have the same memory sticks—but they're asking three times the price.

I intend to buy well-known brand name memory sticks in future.
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