A small device on sale for nearly £340 claiming to give people protection from the alleged risks of 5G waves is being investigated by trading standards after officials said they "consider it to be a scam".
The plugin stick fantastically offering “quantum holographic catalyser technology” that shields users from electromagnetic rays was dismantled by British security researchers who found it to be just a humdrum USB drive with a tiny storage capacity worth about £5.
Its sellers have apparently tried to cash-in on people’s fears about claimed negative health impacts of the superfast mobile technology being rolled out across Britain, fuelled by hoaxes spread on social media.
An outcry from conspiracy theorists has seen scores of 5G masts attacked in Britain, even though the allegations have been dismissed by mainstream scientists and regulators.
But it has not stopped the promotion of the plug-in devices, called 5GBioShield, which sell for about £340 each including VAT, or less for bulk buys.
It is claimed that a stick when plugged into a computer generates a virtual protective "bubble" up to 40 metres (131ft) in diameter from alleged 5G radiation emitted by electrical devices.
They are also advertised as a wearable device that can be "be worn or placed near to a smartphone" and were even recommended by a committee member on Glastonbury Town Council, who said he found the “holographic nano-layer catalyser” was “useful”.
However, now they have been revealed to actually have just tiny a 128MB of storage - with no special powers.
The claims were debunked by Pen Test Partners, which strips down products to look for security flaws.
Ken Munro, a partner at the firm, said when he dismantled the device it appeared to offer the functionality of a regular memory stick, albeit with an ornate crystal-like clear casing.
First he plugged in the device, and found a 25-page PDF with details about the supposed powers and reach of the "bubble".
Mr Munro told BBC News: "So what's different between it and a virtually identical 'crystal' USB key available from various suppliers in Shenzhen, China, for around £5 per key?"
The answer is apparently just a sticker on the key’s outside, and upon taking the device apart Mr Munro found inside an LED light and a circuit board that is standard in similar drives.
Mr Munro added: "Now, we're not 5G quantum experts but said sticker looks remarkably like one available in sheets from stationery suppliers for less than a penny each.”
Now London Trading Standards, which is investigating the case with City of London's Police's Action Fraud squad, said they "consider it to be a scam".
The product's UK vendor, Bioshield Distribution, has rejected the claims.
It said: "We are in possession of a great deal of technical information, with plenty of back-up historical research.
"We are not authorised to fully disclose all this sensitive information to third parties.”