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Q&A: How To Tell If A SanDisk SD Card Is Fake?

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A common trend in many different consumer electronics problems that become overly popular is counterfeits and the latest product to fall victim is fake SanDisk SD cards. 

With more consumer and professional cameras requiring more faster and more expensive memory cards to capture video in 4K or high frame rate 1080p for slow motion, there are more opportunities for scammers to take advantage of consumers. 

As part of our business, we utilize many high-end cameras for testing and multimedia creation so we fully understand how important and expensive quality memory cards can be.

Our staff is involved in a lot of active videography and filmmaking groups on Facebook and have begun to see a trend in people buying high-end SanDisk SD cards like their Extreme Pro series which doesn't work in their cameras despite being shown as a compatible SD card model. 

After close examination, these cards were deemed counterfeit due to several visible signs on the exterior of the casing. We've compiled a list of obvious flaws from illegitimate SanDisk cards to help others be aware of the ongoing scam and avoid becoming a victim. 

While this article will focus primarily on SanDisk cards, it can happen with any other brand. We believe SanDisk is chosen as the most commonly counterfeit due to their popularity in the photo and film community and their premium prices for their higher-end SD cards.

Just a reminder, we are not experts in law, and our recommendations on what to do if you are a victim of counterfeiters are based purely on our own experiences dealing with counterfeit products so take it with a grain of salt.

It requires a great deal of time and effort to create helpful content like this, and we have expenses to keep this website operating.

Due to this,  we will be using a combination of display advertising and some affiliate links to retail partners within this article to help us keep the lights on and have new content flowing for you to learn from and access for free.

How To Tell If A SanDisk SD Card Is Counterfeit

Unfortunately, the scammers have gotten good enough where you can be fooled easily if you don't know what a genuine card looks like and they also closely mimic the retail packaging and in some instance the scammers may even purchase the original box to sell the fake memory cards in. 

After viewing the various Facebook posts which showcased these counterfeits cards, we were able to come up with some clear distinctions between genuine and fake SanDisk SD cards. 

Fake Versus Real SanDisk Extreme Pro SD Card

A counterfeit SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SD card (left) versus a genuine 128GB card.

Here are our observations as to how to tell a real SanDisk memory card versus a fake:

  • The left tab should be grey/white, NOT yellow.
  • The back should have a serial number engraved along with 'Made In China'.
  • The fonts should match the genuine card above (notice how the fake utilizes a different font for the size of the card).
  • The speed of the card (in this case 95MB/s*) shouldn't be missing the '*'. 
  • If you purchased a V30 card then the signifier should be present in the top right.
  • The sticker on the front of the card should be aligned properly and not be offset or have any distinguishing defects such as being washed out of dull colors.
  • The line near the bottom above 'SanDisk' should be thin and concise (fake is thick).
  • The SanDisk logo at the bottom should have a square dot in the i, not rounded.
  • The exterior case plastic should be a smooth, matte black finish, not a harsh speckled finish.
  • Most counterfeits will be in the 128GB or 256GB sizing as scammers can get the largest profit off of these sizes due to the increased cost of the genuine cards.
  • From a performance aspect, a counterfeit SD card will obviously underperform in speed and reliability as it is merely a cheap card with a more expensive card's sticker (your camera might say the fake card is not compatible with your model). 
  • Some fakes may even have a 128GB or 256GB sticker on the outside but be only 32GB or 64GB on the inside. 
Real SanDisk SD Card

A genuine SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB card.

Fake Sandisk SD Card 4

A counterfeit Extreme Pro 128GB card from SanDisk.

Real SanDisk SD Card 23

A real SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro SD card.

Fake SanDisk SD Card 23

A notable fake card sold as a SanDisk Extreme Pro.

What To Do If Your SanDisk SD Card Is Fake?

If you have made it this far, you should know by now whether your SanDisk SD card is genuine or a fake. We would assume that you wouldn't be reading further if you deemed yours as genuine so in this section we will be speaking to those who weren't that lucky.

Chances are if you have identified your card as counterfeit, you likely purchased this memory card from an online retailer that utilizes third party sellers such as Amazon (but not shipped and sold by Amazon), eBay or Craigslist.

In this case, the third party seller is solely responsible and in most cases selling counterfeit items as genuine is considered fraud in the eyes of the law. Consumer protection laws are designed to protect those duped by instances like this, but prosecution on an item this low is unlikely.

However, we recommend that you do the following in the event that you purchased a counterfeit SanDisk SD card:

  1. Message the third-party seller expressing your dissatisfaction and cite all areas that deem the card as fake. In many cases, these sellers are well-aware of the lack of authenticity of these cards and will refund without any questions asked.
  2. Contact the parent retailer whether it be eBay or Amazon to notify them of fraudulent sales from one of their resellers and this will often get their account shut down.
  3. If the seller refuses to refund your money, you can always file a claim through PayPal or your credit card provider to dispute the charge based on it being counterfeit goods marketed as genuine.
  4. If the seller asks for the SD card back BEFORE receiving a refund, do not ship it back. There are hefty fines for shipping and receiving fraudulent goods and you don't want to risk this nor do you want to let the scammer receive the card back just to sell it to another victim. Bring up the fact that they are breaking the law and with any further resistance just contact the parent retailer and dispute the charges through PayPal or your credit card provider.
  5. Once this is all done and you have your money back safely, if the seller's account is still active on the retail platform despite reporting them then be sure to leave negative feedback or reviews under this seller's profile. This gesture will help others avoid the headache of falling for a scam as you did.

Where To Buy Genuine SanDisk SD Cards Online

With all of this fraudulent sales happening, you may be wondering where you can buy genuine SanDisk SD cards without taking the risk of being taken advantage of. Here our are top recommendations for buying legitimate memory cards:

Amazon Genuine SanDisks

With Amazon's competitive pricing, stellar customer support and fast shipping, they remain a top retailer of camera gear. You do take a risk buying from a third-party seller on their platform, but buying a SanDisk SD card that is shipped and sold by Amazon will ensure authenticity. 

BHPhoto SanDisk Legit SD Cards

B&H is one of our favorite retailers for photo and video gear as they offer some of the best prices, excellent customer service, fast shipping and no tax except in NY/NJ. They do not allow any third-party sellers, and all of their gear sold through their online store is guaranteed to be genuine. 

Adorama Extreme Pro SD Card

Like B&H, Adorama is another photo/video retailer based in NYC with a substantial online presence and competitive pricing. They carry nearly all SanDisk SD card models for all sizes and price ranges that are legitimate and will pose no threat of fakes.

We truly hope this article helped you determine if your SanDisk SD card is fake.

8 thoughts on “Q&A: How To Tell If A SanDisk SD Card Is Fake?”

  1. Great article. I purchased 2 SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB from Amazon. I received them and the SanDisk packaging looked cheaper than I was accustomed to with their products. The card also looked cheap with a yellow R/W tab. So, I called SanDisk to confirm and they verified it was counterfeit. I found your site while I was on the line and it helped as well. There was no serial number etched in the back of the card, and you can see a difference in the label as well. Glad my spidey senses went up…

    • BTW, my private seller on Amazon was hit with a lot of bad feedback with many receiving counterfeit cards in the last week or so. As the article states, be very careful the listing says shipped and sold by Amazon, because you will see multiple 3rd parties, who just started up, and others with bad feedback as well. Clearly they are closing accounts and reopening new ones as so they can fraudulently sell the cards. BE CAREFUL. I just decided to go to B&H… I am 100% confident with them.

      • Thanks for sharing this BP and sorry to hear about your inconvenience of being duped by a counterfeit. Fortunately, you should be able to dispute the charges through Amazon or your credit card company and we think your decision to go through with B&H is an excellent idea. They are a phenomenal camera retailer with competitive pricing and the perks of no tax unless you are in NY or NJ.

  2. Brilliant article so glad iv viewed this as I think iv purchased a fake Sandisk SD micro card from a seller on EBay, iv not recieved it yet but i now know how to tell if it is fake and happy that if it is that I can do some thing about it and report the seller and also get my money back as i paid with PayPal

  3. Great article, thanks for creating this, and for recent update. I just received two SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SD cards purchased online from BestBuy Canada yet they were fulfilled by a third-party discount warehouse in Beijing. They were mailed to me in a crappy envelope, all packaging in Chinese, no customs forms with them. The labels on the cards appear to be accurate, etc., as per above, but I still need to perform speed tests. Even if they cards are genuine, BestBuy Canada is allowing grey-market products not intended for sale in US / Canada to be sold through their website (with nothing about this disclosed to their customers). And, get this … they deny any responsibility for the accuracy / legitimacy of Marketplace fulfilled items. Buyer Beware!!!

  4. Your receipt will tell you if it’s a counterfeit memory card. If it says Amazon on the receipt, it’s probably a fake card.

    • As stated in the article, you’ll have little to worry about buying directly from Amazon (aka shipped and sold by Amazon) although that changes entirely when buying through a third-party Amazon seller.

  5. Just received a 400gb SanDisk a1 card labeled as 100gbs* the package and card both look legit, but it was ripped open above where the card is stored. It was sold by Amazon, not 3rs party and prime shipped. I was able to get the plastic out without breaking the packaging. This has me worried. I seen the plastic that the card is stored in was not broken, but it’s just a thin film but identical container as my last SanDisk card.

    I am runn h2testw on it now but it’s a 5hour wait. It’s showing as a consistent 18.5Mbyte/sec but that doesn’t seem right as this is labeled c10 a1 100mb/s so shouldn’t this be writing faster? I don’t know if it’s my memory card reader. My pc is a Lenovo desktop from 2011 and I am using the converter card adapter and in my pcs dedicated SD card reader. I’m guessing it’s at least usb2 for 2011 and that should be faster than 18.5mb/s but maybe not.

    Will know for sure after the test is done. Do you know if 18.5 write speed is normal? Or should I just get the return due to open package

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