Is counterfeit hardware on the rise? Last week, an article in PC Magazine discussed just this. Apparently there has been an increase in the amount of counterfeit hardware making its way into retail outlets, some of them ignorant of the fact that they're pushing bad stuff. An example noted were counterfeit batteries being found from online retailers in a name-branded phone, though the retailer doesn't claim responsibility. U.S. Customs claims that the amount of hi-tech fakes seized more than doubled from 2004 to 2005. Though that could mean that just more is being found, it could also be somewhat of a resurgence of the massive duping we saw in the late 90s.

”In many cases the counterfeiters don't make the phony hardware themselves. Instead, they take a legitimate but inexpensive hard drive or memory module from an undistinguished maker, slap on the label of a better-known firm, and charge a premium rate. Woody Taylor, who uncovers counterfeits for Seagate, says hard drives made by little-known companies and rebranded as Seagate models make up the bulk of the hundreds of phony Seagate drives he sees each year.”
Sounds quite like it. More often than not, you could find a rebadged P2 or a rebadged Athlon in a normally reputable computer store years ago, and most recently you could find quite often “name brand” components with generic innards, such as with thumb drives or network devices. This kind of fraud hurts pretty much everyone from the top down, because often even the consumer can't get the fake replaced. Be cautious of where you shop, especially so online.