If you want to guarantee that your SD cards are genuine, do not buy them from Amazon. According to numerous reports, the online retailer still has massive problems when it comes to weeding out counterfeit goods, even when selling via its Prime service.
This thread on Reddit suggests that counterfeit photography gear is still an ongoing problem, with less experienced photographers particularly prone to receiving fake merchandise without realizing. Reviews on Amazon itself suggest that some customers are losing images as a result of being scammed. With many people acquiring new cameras over the festive period or receiving SD cards and other products as gifts, the fakes are inevitably going to cause disappointment.
Buying through Amazon Prime does not offer any guarantees either; with the way that Amazon warehouses its products, just because a product is “by SanDisk” does not ensure that the card you receive will be from the manufacturer. It’s possible that Amazon regards the products as fungible, meaning that an SD card made by SanDisk is the same regardless of who is selling it. If a warehouse runs out or if another warehouse is closer to the buyer, the customer could receive the product from another seller, even though the customer deliberately chose a product marked as “by SanDisk.” Amazon is very quick to replace counterfeit good,s but this does little to make up for images that are lost as a result of using the fake items without realizing.
If you’ve received any memory cards or B+W filters as gifts over the holidays, it’s well worth checking them thoroughly before putting them in your camera. Giveaway signs include a yellow locking tab (it should be gray) and a lack of a serial number on the reverse. Seven years ago, a SanDisk engineer estimated that one third of the SanDisk memory cards in use around the world are fake; taking a moment to check your cards is a smart move.
If you want to improve your odds of buying a genuine card, it’s probably best to avoid Amazon completely (eBay should never be a consideration) and buy from the likes of B&H Photo instead. If you've discovered that you've bought a fake card, please let us know in the comments below.