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Fake iPhone Chargers Pose Serious Danger: How to Spot Them

In an October lawsuit, Apple accused a company selling electronic devices through Amazon of faking the authenticity of its iPhone chargers. Now, independent research has verified that phony power accessories pose a dangerous risk.

Image: moomsabuy / Shutterstock.com

Image: moomsabuy / Shutterstock.com

In its report, the UK-based Chartered Trading Standards Institute, which commissioned the testing and released the results today (Dec. 2), emphasized that unofficial and fake devices are "unknown entities." Leon Livermore, chief executive of the institute, noted that counterfeit goods "could cost you your home or even your life, or the life of a loved-one."

Of 400 purported iPhone chargers tested, only three had enough insulation to protect against electric shocks, meaning that less than 1 percent of accessories tested were actually safe to use.

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The tests, performed by the Illinois-based global safety specialists UL, applied a high amount of voltage to the chargers. The power accessories were bought online from retailers in eight different countries, including the U.S., Australia and China.   

According to the Trading Standards Institute, consumers can check to see whether their Apple device chargers are legitimate.

  • First, the plug should easily fit into the power socket, without requiring any force.
  • Next, look for Apple branding, a batch number and the UL and CE safety marks, although these can be forged.
  • Lastly, did your charger come with instructions and safety materials? If not, it may be junk.

Of course, consumers can always skip the uncertainty and buy directly from Apple or well-known accessory makers such as Belkin, Kensington, Monoprice and TwelveSouth.