Last week, there were a number of reports about scammers selling fake AMD parts, including a report by PC Gamer that described how two Amazon customers ordered a Ryzen 7 1700 processor each and received falsely marked Intel processors.¹
EE Times’ Dylan McGrath contacted Amazon and EE Times Asia requested AMD and Intel for comment. While Amazon and AMD did not respond, an Intel spokesperson gave us a somewhat stock statement: “We occasionally discover counterfeit or intentionally mislabelled Intel products. When that happens we work with the appropriate authorities to address the situation.”
Talking to industry executives at various locations around the world we found that the problem is widespread with little in sight towards mitigation. By widespread we mean that it affects all countries and all industries.
For instance, last week in India, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked an Indian middleman colluding with a Chinese supplier over fake parts—roller bearings—for their artillery guns. And The Verge reported on July 26 that a search for solar filter glasses on Amazon pulls both legitimate and suspect products.² While the product is relatively simpler to make than a microprocessor or a gun’s roller bearings it has the potential to damage the eyesight of an unsuspecting eclipse gazer.
Amazon did not respond to The Verge’s request for comment either. The online marketplace has a policy to prohibit sales of counterfeits reports McGrath. So does China’s Alibaba/Taobao (here). The question is how much does it help? None other than a Chinese publication Caixin reported several inexpensive Rolex watches listed on Taobao in March despite the parent company Alibaba claiming that they had removed more than 380 million product listings and closed about 180000 small shops on the Taobao platform in the 12 months ending last August.³
Lisa Maestas head of the SIA’s anti-counterfeit task force told McGrath that for parts like microprocessors it’s best to buy…