A number of folks over on Reddit are reporting they have been sent fake AMD Ryzen CPUs that they’ve bought from Amazon’s marketplace. Two separate reports have surfaced from Reddit users, each claiming they ordered AMD Ryzen CPUs from Amazon before being sent fakes with Ryzen stickers slapped over the front.

It all started roughly a week ago when Reddit user sh00ter999 order an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 from Amazon. Upon opening the box, the first thing they noticed was notches in the PCB, whereas legit Ryzens are a single complete block. Taking off the AMD Ryzen sticker revealed the truth - this was an Intel Celeron 2.9Ghz CPU. The Wraith cooler they ordered to go along with it was an ancient, and passive cooler that looked like it had been plucked from the dump. As for the CPU itself, it had been re-sealed in the Ryzen packaging, the plastic evidently melted to reseal it. Fortunately, they contacted Amazon and were sent replacements.

In the second incident of this kind yesterday, ‘Yae_Ko’ ordered an AMD Ryzen 1700, this time with a different LGA-based Intel CPU, as the PCB numbers don’t match up. They were also sent the exact same crappy heatsink, indicating it was the devious work of the same scammer.

AMD’s connecting pins are found on the CPU itself rather than the motherboard, the reverse of Intel’s setup. These CPUs sent to Reddit users didn’t have pins, which is the most obvious telltale sign. Provided you’ve got a matching AM4 motherboard for the Ryzen CPU you buy, these fake CPUs shouldn’t be able to cause any permanent damage if you try to insert them.

There’s plenty of ways that this scam could be happening, but the most likely scenario seems to be that a person, or a team of people, are abusing Amazon’s returns service (RMA). They simply buy AMD Ryzen CPUs, receive them, and replace them with fakes that could easily escape the notice of someone working in the returns department. They are then resold on to customers, who receive the fake processors.

As ever these things are difficult to predict, so just tread carefully if you’re looking for a CPU from Amazon. You should be safe if you buy directly from Amazon rather than a third party seller, but there are no guarantees on that front. If the worst does happen then you should be covered by Amazon’s returns system, and be sure to give your hardware a thorough check over when you receive it.

Source: PCGN