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S’porean man buys 8TB external hard drive, finds microSD card glued inside after losing all data


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A Singaporean man lost almost all his data files while transferring them into an external solid-state drive (SSD) that he had newly bought on an e-commerce platform.

When he opened it up, he was shocked.



IMG_6058.jpg Image via Mothership Reader






How it happened


Speaking to Mothership, Bong shared that he decided to purchase an SSD online because he was running out of storage on his computer.

He admitted that he was "not the most tech-savvy user" and, thus, was unsure of the current market rate for external hard drives.

As someone who prefers shopping online, he decided to look through Lazada, where he found a verified store named "Harboring Shore", which has over 571 followers and 88% positive seller ratings.

While the SSD listing was not rated nor reviewed, he felt the seller was "legitimate" due to their high ratings and thought it would be a safe purchase.


Screenshot-2023-09-21-at-11.57.03-AM.jpe Screenshot via Lazada


According to the listing, the item is a portable SSD with a storage capacity of 8TB and costs S$29.90.

Bong received the item a week later. When he plugged it into his computer, it showed that the drive had a storage capacity of 7.6TB, close to the advertised capacity.

After successfully transferring one of his files into the drive, he started transferring the rest.

His files were around 1TB, so he waited over two days to complete the transfer process.

However, he realised that most of the folders in the SSD remained empty after two days.

To make matters worse, he had cut and pasted the files from his computer folders, which meant that his original files were also missing from his computer.

Alarmed, he headed to a data recovery centre, where they informed him that his SSD was likely a fake product.

He was also quoted at least S$380 to recover his lost data files. This did not include the cost of a new external hard drive to store the files.

He decided to forgo recovering his files at the centre and instead used a free data recovery software he found online. Fortunately, he managed to get most of his files back.





Managed to get a refund


Bong contacted the seller thereafter but did not receive a response.

He then escalated it to Lazada, whose customer service agent told him to wait for the seller's reply for 24 to 48 hours.

They also said that a resolution team would work on his case.


2-1.jpg Screenshot of conversation with Lazada, courtesy of Bong


He eventually received a refund.





MicroSD card hidden inside


After some research, Bong discovered similar scams.

Referencing the YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips' video on fake SSD listings on Amazon, Bong discovered this type of scam has been "rampant".

In the video, they dismantled an SSD to reveal a 64GB chip instead of a 2TB one as advertised.


Screenshot-2023-09-21-at-3.45.39-PM-1.jp Photo from Linus Tech Tips/ Youtube


According to CNET, the interior of an SSD typically looks like this:


SSD.jpeg Photo from CNET


Bong then took it upon himself to break open his SSD, and he discovered a microSD card glued to a circuit board.


IMG_6059.jpg Image via Mothership Reader


Bong said that he had tried matching the microSD card's serial number to "online identifiers" but could not determine its origin.

He suspects that the true capacity of the SSD he had bought is in the range of 64GB, which is the range where his files stopped transferring.

While he has managed to recover his files and get his money refunded, Bong hopes to share his story to help raise awareness of this type of scam.

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