AMD's Ryzen processors are the hot new chips on the market, and I don't mean in terms of the heat they produce. AMD is back to offering competitive processors that undercut Intel on price. And because they are proving so popular, fake Ryzen chips are appearing for sale.
As explained on Tom's Hardware, scammers are buying up stock of Ryzen processors and replacing the chip before reselling them. The heatspreader attached to the Ryzen chip is scanned and a sticker created from that scan. A cheaper processor, such as an Intel Celeron, is then placed in the Ryzen box with the sticker attached so it looks like the real thing.
With the Ryzen box resealed, it is offered for sale or returned to the store for a refund. As the box is sealed and the chip inside looks legit, everything seems fine until someone opens and tries to use the processor with an AMD Socket AM4 motherboard. Luckily, it simply won't fit so no damage can be done.
The fake processors are appearing on Amazon and eBay according to Reddit. So it shouldn't be too hard to demand your money back and get the seller banned, but that won't remove any of the frustration caused.
As the images here show (thanks sh00ter999), the scammers have clearly spent some time figuring out how to best make this fake Ryzen 7 processor look real. But such a scam is going to be most successful by returning the seemingly unopened box to a retailer for a full refund. Selling the chip to someone will always result in the box being opened rather than it being returned to a store shelf for resale.
The same rule always applies when buying products online, especially new and in demand products. Only purchase from trusted retailers. And if you must buy from a third-party seller, check them out thoroughly before handing over payment. Look at their feedback, how many sales they have completed, and do a search online for their name and/or business. Only once they have proved themselves to be legitimate should you consider a purchase.