Online retailers that host third-party sellers, like Amazon and Walmart, have extensive, competitively priced electronics selections. But for years, they have also served as playgrounds for fraudulent sellers, who list products with inflated or deceptive performance claims. Worse, some of these products pose a physical threat to customers. ArsTechnica: The problem has become so widespread that by the end of this month, the federal government will require online retailers to do a much better job of vetting seller credentials, courtesy of the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers (INFORM Consumers) Act. But scammers are persistent, and workarounds seem inevitable. So what more should we demand from these giant retailers, and what can shoppers, including the less tech-savvy, do to take matters into their own hands? To paint a picture of how prominent scammy tech is online, imagine you’re in the market for a roomy portable SSD. You eventually land at Walmart.com, where there’s a 60TB drive selling for under $39. The only downside? It’s obviously not a real 60TB SSD. In reality, even a 2TB portable SSD will run you three figures. But for years, this scam has run amok on popular online marketplaces.
Review Geek recently showed that the scheme includes selling a much lower-capacity microSD card instead of a large-capacity SSD (the site received a 64GB card instead of the advertised 16TB SSD). Fake SSDs are just one example of counterfeit tech scams on huge online retailers, though. Consumers also have to look out for fake Apple chargers, cables that don’t meet the advertised specs, and counterfeit batteries that threaten serious physical harm. Despite their considerable resources, these marketplaces have failed to properly vet sellers and their products. Without outside pressure, shoppers will continue to pay the price.