Tampered or fake CPUs are nothing new. They are sold in the 100s or perhaps even in the thousands in many markets over the world. However, the issue has become so widespread in China that Intel was forced to respond and issue guidelines for consumers.
One customer got a Core 2 Duo CPU disguised as a Core i9-9900K (replaced IHS), and worset of all, this happened on Amazon, not some second-hand or obsure Chinese eCommerce website. Another customer got two fake CPUs back-to-back. This time the chip in question was the Core i7-8700K. A third unlucky buyer got a CPU without the compute die (the core chip). The purchase was made from AliExpress for $334, and all he got was an IHS and a processor shell.
Even more surprising is that certain users have tried to trick Intel by sending in tampered chips for RMA. Once again, the compute die was removed in the latest attempt. Of course, Intel didn’t fall for it, and in fact, it’s the reason the company was forced to comment on the issue.