Sd hc card unreadable

Inserted SD HC memory card into my brother's older model SD/MMC card reader in his PC. Error Msg: Can not read card. Put in back into my Nikon D5000 and Error msg: Can not format card - card may be defective. Tried recovery software - and nothing. Is the card totally wiped out, and how did this happen? Any advice for photo retrieval that won't cost $900, as some companies are requesting.
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  1. Using SDHC -- the key is probably the older card reader -- may not have been compatible.

    There is freeware and shareware available that claims to retrieve pix from corrupt cards.

    Try sites like Filehippo, CNET, Major Geeks.
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