Although this is the first time we have seen fake Ryzen processor for sale, the scam isn’t new. In the past, we have seen counterfeit Core i7 processors sold by reputable retailers, as well as fake AMD A-Series A8-7600 processors making the rounds on Amazon.
In this case, it seems the crooks behind the caper used low-cost Celeron processors for the scam. The process works something like this: The scammer buys a handful of legitimate high-dollar AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processors, scans the CPU heatspreader, and then prints a sticker and applies it to the face of the fake CPU (in this case an old Celeron processor). The scammer returns the counterfeit processor to the box, reseals it, and then sells it on eBay / Amazon. This type of scam works because the counterfeit processor looks authentic from the outside of the package.
Sometimes, the fake product is actually meant to scam the retailer. As some of you are aware, retailers often place returned merchandise back in active inventory and resell it. It could also end up on Amazon’s Warehouse Deals site, after which the fake product ends up in the hands of a retail customer.
It's unfortunate that these things happen, but there are a few things you can do to prevent falling victim to this type of scam. Avoid third-party sellers on sites like Amazon, Newegg, Wal-Mart, and others. Pay for purchases with a credit card or services like PayPal that offer hassle-free refunds. Make sure you check the AMD website for tips on recognizing a fake processor or check the serial number on Intel’s website to verify the processor you purchased is legitimate.