4 February 2014

That bargain cellphone you just bought could be fake

Black-market sales of counterfeit and substandard cellphones are a US$6 billion a year problem worldwide, according to a new report from the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF). The global analysis of counterfeit and substandard cell phones, titled Counterfeit/Substandard Mobile Phones - A Resource Guide for Governments, covers all major cellphone brands.

"Research estimates sales of around 148 million counterfeit or substandard cellphones in 2013 through visible retail sites, with many more expected via unofficial retail outlets, online auction websites and local black markets," MMF Secretary General Michael Milligan said. 

Your phone might not be genuine.
In India alone counterfeits make up more than 20% of the cellphone market, causing US$1.5 billion annually in lost sales, US$85 million direct tax losses and US$460 million indirect tax losses.

"Counterfeit phones are made with cheap sub-standard materials and have been shown to contain dangerous levels of metals and chemicals like lead," Milligan said.

People often unknowingly purchase fake cellphone products on the internet when trying to find a cheaper price. The website http://www.spotafakephone.com helps identify and avoid potentially dangerous fake cellphones, batteries and chargers.

Some of the telltale signs of fake cellphones are:

IMEI Number. Genuine cellphones have unique serial numbers to register to a carrier network. Counterfeits often have duplicated or invalid IMEI numbers.

Price. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Poor quality. Look for inaccurate printing, misspelled words, crooked label placement, signs of defective workmanship.