Third-party Walmart vendor found selling bogus 30TB SSDs

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,664   +1,129
Staff member
Caveat emptor: Folks looking for a great deal on a solid-state drive might have been jazzed to find a generic 30TB M.2 external SSD for about $18 on Walmart's website recently. However, the killer deal ended up being a scam product that didn't hold anywhere near 30TB of data. Always remember, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Current SSD prices range from about $50 to $100 per terabyte. So when a security researcher, going by Ray [REDACTED] on Twitter, saw the advertised 30TB SSD on online retailer AliExpress for about $30, he was immediately suspicious. As a quick and easy project to teach his son how to analyze hardware, Ray bought a unit and tore it down to see what it was.

After opening up the generic SDD housing, Ray was not surprised to find it contained two SD cards held firm with hot glue. When plugged into a USB port, Windows showed the external storage device as two 15TB drives. However, even that was not accurate.

As Ray explained in his lengthy thread, the scammers took two 512MB flash drives (or whatever they can find on the cheap) and modified the firmware to report each as 15TB. To help obfuscate the ruse, the scammers slowed the bus to 0.48 gigabits per second instead of 5 Gbps. So anyone trying to verify capacity using a tool like H2Testw will find it takes 500 days to scan and verify the entire drive.

Furthermore, to extend suspicions for as long as possible, the counterfeiters programmed the firmware to overwrite stored data whenever a file exceeded the remaining storage space while keeping the directory intact. This sneaky trick would keep buyers thinking all was normal until they tried to load an overwritten file. And all this assuming you can get the drive to work at all.

This type of scam is nothing new. Counterfeiters have been selling cheap, high-capacity SD cards on Amazon for years that do the same thing. The problem was prevalent shortly after the Nintendo Switch release when users were looking for bargain-priced SD expansion cards to increase the measly storage of the Switch. The twist, in this case, is that they are now just taking these same scam flash drives and hiding them in a generic SSD housing.

Walmart learned of the bogus drive on Friday and removed the third-party seller's product page by Monday.

"Thanks for reaching out and bringing this to our attention," Walmart's Director of Corporate Communications Robyn Babbitt told Motherboard. "Walmart has a robust trust and safety program, which actively works to protect our customers and help ensure items are authentic. After reviewing this item, it has been removed from our site."

Walmart customers that fell for the scam weren't amused. Multiple buyers warned others not to purchase the hard drive, pointing out how they got duped.

"DO NOT BUY THIS — it is a scam," wrote one reviewer before Walmart took the page down. "Walmart should get smarter than to sell products like this. I thought I was buying a 8 terabyte SSD drive, for $28, and this piece of garbage does not work, in any way, shape or form. This product is a scam, and Walmart should be ashamed of itself to sell them."

Ray initially found and bought the drive from AliExpress, which was charging even more than the Walmart vendor. Interestingly, all 13 reviews on the reseller's site give it five stars and sing its praises. As of publication, the bogus SSD is still available on AliEspress for $32. The seller even advertises it as a marked-down item that usually sells for $66.67.

Buyer beware, indeed.

Permalink to story.

 

psycros

Posts: 4,462   +6,653
"Walmart has a robust trust and safety program, which actively works to protect our customers and help ensure items are authentic. After reviewing this item, it has been removed from our site."

So apparently they have nobody even remotely computer-literate on their product safety team. The price alone was a red flag made of explosive and set on fire.
 

takaozo

Posts: 423   +650
I got some nice toys for the kids from Ali-baba and 40 thiefs aka Aliexpress but when I tried to get electronics I changed my mind fast. At least they got a good debate and return policy for people that do buy from there.
If you still want to buy from there see first product and store reviews.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 6,408   +7,224
So apparently they have nobody even remotely computer-literate on their product safety team. The price alone was a red flag made of explosive and set on fire.
Nobody remotely computer-relate would fall so low as to work in Walmart. That would be like getting a PhD before getting hired in McDonald's.

Actually, I like the sound of it - "PhD in flipping burgers".
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,342   +8,536
"if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is"

The golden rule for any buyer along with "let the buyer beware". Sadly, this is the kind of common sense that is no longer taught at most schools along with how to balance checkbooks, understand loans and finance, and basic civics that include current laws, regulations, and what to do if you face legal consequences ......
 

Strontium

Posts: 9   +18
"DO NOT BUY THIS — it is a scam," wrote one reviewer before Walmart took the page down. "Walmart should get smarter than to sell products like this. I thought I was buying a 8 terabyte SSD drive, for $28, and this piece of garbage does not work, in any way, shape or form. This product is a scam, and Walmart should be ashamed of itself to sell them."

Yes. Walmart should get smarter... Person bought an 8 TB drive for $28 and was SHOCKED when it didn't work. The well of human stupidity is truly bottomless.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,096   +3,991
TechSpot Elite
"Folks looking for a great deal on a solid-state drive might have been jazzed to find a generic 30TB M.2 external SSD for about $18 on Walmart's website recently. However, the killer deal ended up being a scam product that didn't hold anywhere near 30TB of data."

People who know enough to know that 30TB SSDs don't (yet) even exist, let alone be sold for some absurdly low price like $18, wouldn't be buying computer parts from Wal-Mart marketplace to begin with. People who buy tech from Wal-Mart are about as tech-savvy as people who shop at Best Buy.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,096   +3,991
TechSpot Elite
I got some nice toys for the kids from Ali-baba and 40 thiefs aka Aliexpress but when I tried to get electronics I changed my mind fast. At least they got a good debate and return policy for people that do buy from there.
If you still want to buy from there see first product and store reviews.
I just get things like that from Canada Computers, Memory Express or Costco. As long as it's a brand I recognise, I just buy as per spec.
That's stupid. Same scam was on Walmart, so you shouldn't be shopping there as well?
AliExpress is good place to buy certain stuff not easily available on other places. You have to be careful, but same on ebay and any other place where you buy anything from 3rd party.
I agree with you. I've bought stuff from AliExpress. Got new tuner pegs for my guitar, a replacement battery for my e-bike and some cheap running shoes that I'm not afraid to get dirty. For a lot of things, they're the best source out there. People who talk bad about AliExpress are just clueless.
"DO NOT BUY THIS — it is a scam," wrote one reviewer before Walmart took the page down. "Walmart should get smarter than to sell products like this. I thought I was buying a 8 terabyte SSD drive, for $28, and this piece of garbage does not work, in any way, shape or form. This product is a scam, and Walmart should be ashamed of itself to sell them."
Wal-Mart has no shame or scruples. They were Amazon before Amazon was Amazon. Never mind the number of labour law citations that they've received. They were once (that I know for sure) cited with human rights violations towards their employees. All that Wal-Mart ever cared about was raking in every red cent that they could by whatever means necessary. In that way, they're no different from a crime syndicate.
Yes. Walmart should get smarter... Person bought an 8 TB drive for $28 and was SHOCKED when it didn't work. The well of human stupidity is truly bottomless.
Wal-Mart has no shortage of smarts. What Wal-Mart has is a shortage of ability to give a rat's posterior. After all, under capitalism, psychopathic behaviour is not only encouraged, it is rewarded.
"if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is"
The golden rule for any buyer along with "let the buyer beware". Sadly, this is the kind of common sense that is no longer taught at most schools along with how to balance checkbooks, understand loans and finance, and basic civics that include current laws, regulations, and what to do if you face legal consequences ......
The reason that it's not taught is because people are easier to control when they're kept ignorant. A lack of personal finance, political and legal classes in schools is no accident. They're absent by design because when people make financial, political or legal mistakes they can become desperate. Desperate people are the easiest to exploit and that's what the ruling rich oligarchic class wants.
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,738   +906
20tb are so f**ng expensive. I have a pair of 14tb drives bought for the best price I could find in a long time. And they were the most expensive drives I ever purchased.
When 30tb drives are actually out, they will cost a fortune.
 

Rocky4040

Posts: 140   +172
This is just one of the many problems these big stores have with their online side of things. Allowing outside venders into the online store is asking for trouble. I am not saying all of the outside vendes are bad most are good and trust worthy. But I see it far to often on sites like Walmart, Newegg etc etc etc where they are charging most time 100%-$500% more than the product should be sold at. Another thing I have seen the product price is low but shipping is like $250-$350 USD. There are so many other things that could be mentioned but I think anyone reading this probably knows what I am saying lol.

I personally think that these big online outlets are just hurting themselves by allowing outside venders into their online stores because with what I mentioned and all the other things these venders do to their customers it just makes the big box stores look bad and turns a lot of people away from their online stores. It's to bad though there are those that abuse the system and make it harder for the honest venders. When a person gets ripped off from on dishonest vender they tend to not trust any of them any more.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,096   +3,991
TechSpot Elite
20tb are so f**ng expensive. I have a pair of 14tb drives bought for the best price I could find in a long time. And they were the most expensive drives I ever purchased.
When 30tb drives are actually out, they will cost a fortune.
Yeah, and they won't be SSDs first, they'll be HDDs.
 

Ben Myers

Posts: 213   +84
This is a warning to people who shop at Walmart, Newegg, Amazon and other web sites with 3rd party sellers. Surprise! None of these selling site screen 3rd party sellers. Unless you can independently verify that the 3rd party seller is legit, don't buy. Or buy anyway and prepare for disappointment.
 

lazer

Posts: 453   +139
I once bought a very large SD micro card from Aliexpress. I was very happy but when I tried to load a large file, it refused to accept it. Never understood why it didn't work, didn't bother to return it.

Wonder if maybe it is something like the article says and that it really was a smaller SD card with higher looking ratings?
 

PEnnn

Posts: 956   +1,248
What is wrong with you people trashing this AliExpress??

For a lousy $74.80 you can have a "Brand New 14 Pro Max Smartphone 7.0 Inch 16GB + 1TB 10 Core Phone 5G LET Phone HD Screen Face ID Global Version Mobile Phone"

You read that right, it has an "LET" HD screen and 1 TB drive too!!

Get it there even before the official IPhone 14 release!!
 

Gezzer

Posts: 303   +152
"Walmart has a robust trust and safety program, which actively works to protect our customers and help ensure items are authentic. After reviewing this item, it has been removed from our site."

So apparently they have nobody even remotely computer-literate on their product safety team. The price alone was a red flag made of explosive and set on fire.
No, it's more that Walmart got a cut of sales, be they fraudulent or not, and was more than happy to continue that until the scam was exposed. Then they claim they have safe guards in place and reacted as quickly as humanly possible. The real problem is all these sites be it Walmart, Newegg, Bestbuy, or the master of the BS scam Amazon, pimp their recognized and respected name to the scammers, and are just as responsible as the original scammers are.