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Cheap Custom USB Flash Drives: Beware Scams and Fake Capacity

Cheap Custom USB Flash Drives: Scams and Fake Capacity USB Drives Abound

Cheap custom USB flash drives have their allure, but can result in customers being scammed by sellers of fake capacity thumb drives. Don’t let this be you!

Here are a few WARNING SIGNS to be aware of:

  • Aggressive, pushy sales person forcing you to make quick buying decision without first helping you and answering all of your questions
  • Seller not willing to send you a physical sample before you purchase bulk quantity
  • Price sounds too good to be true. As of today, there are no high quality flash drives on the market for less than about $1.30 for 64MB or 128MB at wholesale prices. Quality flash memory is a commodity, and traded openly each day on the global spot market at DRAM Exchange.
  • Seller cannot guarantee you Grade A, Tier 1 quality flash memory grade USB drives. Top grade flash memory has very low failure rate, coupled with longevity and reliability. Beware Grade B, C, D level flash drives with poor quality and performance — some even have fake capacity so you only get half of the storage space advertised, or less!

Why Flash Drives Not Made in America

"...U.S. firms are building semiconductor fabrication plants (fabs) abroad, primarily in Asia." - Federation of American Scientists

Semiconductors Fuel the Economy

Semiconductors fuel the global economy. In order to make affordable or cheap custom USB flash drives, SD cards, smartphones, cameras or other consumer electronics, semiconductor manufacturing is needed. Simply put, semiconductors are small electronic devices, a bit smaller than the size of a postage stamp. They are made of silicon or germanium material and are the brains behind the storage, movement and processing of all the data in our daily lives such as:

  • browsing or searching the Web
  • managing our email
  • storing data on flash drives and SD cards
  • processing systems and applications like spreadsheets, word processing and mobile apps
  • storing all of our company and personal data such a files, photos, videos

In a June 2016 Congressional Research Services report entitled, U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing: Industry Trends, Global Competition, Federal Policy , the Federation of American Scientists, wrote:

An ongoing issue of congressional interest is the retention of high-value semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. In 2015, semiconductor manufacturers directly employed 181,000 workers, who earned an average wage of $138,100, more than twice the average wage for all U.S. manufacturing workers. Increasingly, however, U.S. firms are building semiconductor fabrication plants (fabs) abroad, primarily in Asia.

Semiconductor production follows a simplified three step process:

  1. Design
  2. Front-end fabrication (87% outside of USA)
  3. Back-end testing, assembly and packaging

American semiconductor companies focus on the less volatile and higher profit margin design and outsource much of the less profitable and more volatile manufacturing, testing, assembly and packaging. About 87% of all of semiconductor manufacturing is overseas by Asian “fabs.” .

To summarize, most American semiconductor companies focus on DESIGN then “fab-out” MANUFACTURING and other back-end steps to China and other Asian countries. So flash drives may be designed in the USA, but they are made in China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.

As of 2Q 2017 (Source:

  • Samsung – 35.6%
  • Toshiba – 17.5%
  • SanDisk/Western Digital: 17.5%
  • Micron: 12.9%
  • SK Hynix: 9.9%
  • Intel: 6.6%
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