Walmart Sold a Super-Cheap Scam SSD That Fakes a 30TB Capacity

Screenshot via Motherboard

Until earlier this week, Walmart was offering what appeared to be an incredible deal: a portable SSD available in a variety of sizes from 500GB up to 30TB for as little as $18. The product was, perhaps obviously, a scam.

As reported by Motherboard, the SSD looked like a knockoff of Samsung’s popular and much more expensive compact SSDs, but was available in far higher capacities and for a lot less. For example, a 2TB capacity Samsung SSD costs $230, while the knockoff available on Walmart was selling for $22.

A security researcher who goes by Ray[Redacted] on Twitter noticed the scam SSD on AliExpress where a 30TB capacity drive could be purchased for a measly $29. This is the same “deal” that would eventually show up on Walmart.

Upon receipt, the drive actually looked more legitimate than he was expecting.

I was kinda expecting the package to say 30 gigabytes not 39 terabytes, which would be a somewhat credible “typo”. But note! It even says M.2! /2 pic.twitter.com/5xMAWa4zp4

— Ray [REDACTED] (@RayRedacted) August 25, 2022

After fiddling with the casing, he was able to pry out the interior to reveal what appeared to be two SD cards hot glued to a board. When it was plugged into a computer, the board was programmed to report 30TB of storage even though it could not hold nearly that much.

Board says HUB-TF2 and has two glued down cards (trans flash? SD Cards?). pic.twitter.com/gKd84tXIXI

— Ray [REDACTED] (@RayRedacted) August 25, 2022

This kind of scam has been used before, and the drive will start to delete files as they exceed the actual capacity of the drive. In addition, the drive was only using a USB 2.0 connection, meaning files would transfer at a sluggish 60 MB/s, not near what 1,050 MB/s the Samsung drive this fake is based on can produce.

There appeared to be multiple versions of this fake drive that were sent to buyers, as another user shows theirs housed a USB stick instead of SD cards. While different hardware, the end result would be the same.

As mentioned, this scam isn’t new, but what makes it notable is that the drive was listed on Walmart and being sold to unsuspecting customers. What many might not know about Walmart is that it operates on a model similar to Amazon: anyone can register as a third-party seller and list products on the site. While that is noted in small text on the product page, most Walmart shoppers won’t realize that it isn’t a product that Walmart actually sells.

The product listing was taken down after Motherboard contacted Walmart about the listing.

“Thanks for reaching out and bringing this to our attention,” Robyn Babbitt, director of corporate communications at Walmart, 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.”

As usual, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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