Online fraudsters are stepping up their game in an attempt to dupe Amazon and its customers. Over the last week and a half, at least two users reported having received an Intel Celeron processor masquerading as an AMD Rzyen chip when shopping at Amazon.
In both cases, the customer ordered a new Ryzen 7 1700 processor. What they each received looked like a legitimate Ryzen chip at a glance, that is until a closer examination. After unboxing the processor, it quickly became clear these CPUs were not manufactured by AMD, but were in fact Intel Celeron processors.
Reddit user sh00ter999 posted several pictures of the fake Ryzen processor he received to Imgur. In the above image, you can see that the notches and overall integrated heatspreader (IHS) do not match what a real Ryzen 7 1700 looks like. And if you look real close, you can see that the Ryzen markings on top of the IHS are part of a transparent sticker.
There are plenty of other signs that savvy users would quickly recognize, such as the lack of pins on the underside of the CPU, the wrong heatsink being bundled, and packaging that has obviously been tampered with.
A little over a week after this happened, another user (Yae_Ko) uploaded a photo showing that he had received a fake Ryzen processor from Amazon as well. Here is a look:
It is not clear where exactly these processors are coming from, such as whether they are being sold directly by Amazon or through a third-party seller on the site. One of the more plausible scenarios is that the culprit is requesting RMAs for purchased Ryzen processors, and then returning rebadged Celeron chips in their place. Amazon does not get a free pass for letting these chips go through, though we can see how a worker processing returns might be duped.
The folks at WCCFTech seem to think that two of these fake chips appearing in the wild in a short span is indicative of "well organized mass-RMA fraud seeping through the cracks." It's a bit too early to tell.
On the bright side, one of the users said he received a replacement from Amazon that was delivered over night. For everyone else, the best way to minimize the risk of this happening is to buy directly from reputable online vendors rather than taking a chance with a third-party seller.