When we are referring to a ‘fake tape’ here, we are not talking about a tape that doesn’t work nor a tape that’s using a copyrighted brand without permission, we are referring to an issue that we see time and time again, where tape media users are being mis-sold ‘new’ tape.

This is an issue we come across frequently, data tapes being sold as ‘brand new’ when in fact they are not and have been used previously  (quite often with data on them too). Of course, refurbished tape is absolutely fine (when processed correctly) but it’s kind of like splashing out on a brand a new car to find it’s had previous owners, there is nothing wrong with a second-hand car, but you want what you pay for.  

Spotting a new ‘decoy’ tape can prove quite difficult, as vendors of these tapes are getting better at concealing their true condition, luckily our team here at Insurgo are experts in the field of tape media and can spot a ‘fake’ a mile off. 

Here are their top tips to ensure your data tapes are what they say they are…

1)      Before the purchase takes place consider the price of your ‘new’ tapes, as the saying goes, ‘if something is too good to be true, it usually is’ and that’s the case when it comes to tape media, sure prices fluctuate with the market constantly adapting but if the price is substantially lower than what other tape resellers and distributors are selling them for, there is usually a good reason why.

2)      When you receive the delivery of your precious ‘new’ tape cargo, take a look at the actual boxes they have been packed in, are the seals broken? Perhaps they look a little out of place, or not as you would expect? Does the labelling on the package match the branding of the manufacturers?

3)     You have cut carefully through the cardboard and you are presented with what should be sealed tapes, but is the shrink wrapping what you expect from the manufacturers?

4)     The inlay cards inside the plastic case, do the colours look slightly different to normal, does the quality look poorer than what you would expect? There may even be a slight leakage on the print, indicating that a standard laser printer may have been used. Is the font, logos and branding consistent?

5)      There should be no signs of barcodes or labels on the tapes

6)      Check for any marks, scuffs or scratches on the tapes, if they are new they should be in perfect condition

7)      Make sure you take the time to check over your tapes, don’t just take it for granted and put it straight into your drive, there could be someone else’s data lurking!


Here at Insurgo we are lucky enough to have the technology to test tapes as they come in, to find out their background story, without even breaking the seal. We scan the RFID chip that has been built into the shell of the tape to review its full history. 

A recent example we were able to spot, was of a tape that had been bought as ‘new’ but had actually been used 41 times and still had 1.52TB of data still written to it.  This indicated that the tape would have been given whats known as a 'short erasure', which only tackles the data at the beginning of the tape, before it was resold as ‘new’.  This is why we encourage all of our customers to ensure that they are getting 100% of their data erased upon disposal (as they would with the Insurgo KIT data erasure soltuion) as this data could now potentially be retrieved by a third party.

We can not stress enough of how often we see this issue, please be assured that when buying tape from Insurgo Media, you can be 100% sure it is what it says on the tin (well case).

In addition to new tape,  we also offer a 90-day money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty on our certified media, which has undergone a vigorous data erasure process, leaving 0% of data on the tape, meaning we are able to reinitialize them so they can be reused, supporting our customers in reducing their eco-footprint, as well as ensuring they are getting the very best from their tape media.

Talk to the team today info@insurgomedia.com +44 (0) 1495 372 000