How to Spot Fake Phones


Fake Phones
Fake Phones

Counterfeit mobile phone manufacturers imitate all facets of a branded phone’s appearance to make their products appear genuine.

The phone’s outer shell and screen, the printed logos and branding, the packaging and the included accessories can all be copied, making it difficult to identify whether a phone is fake or genuine. When possible it is always preferable to buy a phone through a registered retailer or reseller who can vouch for a phone’s authenticity. Yet with the prevalence of internet shopping and auction websites this may not be an option. Here are a few simple tips to help you identify whether a phone is genuine or fake:

1. The Price

It might seem obvious but if the price of the device seems too good to be true, it’s because it is. Fake devices will retail for a lot cheaper than the originals and this is an obvious sign which some people fail to notice. If the price sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Counterfeit mobile phone batteries and chargers are made from cheap substandard components allowing them to be produced at a fraction of the price of genuine products. Also, counterfeiters don’t have to invest in product research, design and safety testing. They don’t pay government taxes, import fees and are not bound by fair trade or minimum wage regulations for their employees. All these factors mean fakes can be sold at a much lower price than a genuine product.

2. Build and Design

Original devices are made up of robust, high quality metals, rubbers and plastics. An obvious and noticeable sign that a device is fake is to look at the edges and joints, if there are noticeable cracks and chips and it is obvious that the manufacturer used cheap plastic, the device is probably fake. Another sign is the weight of the device, the originals use lightweight materials whereas counterfeit products don’t, and this means that the fake products are often a lot heavier than the originals.

3. The Performance

If you are able to take the phone for a test run before purchasing it the first aspect you should look for is the operating software of the phone. Most fake devices will have very good pirated software or a low quality copy. It will become clear after a few minutes of using the phone that the software is not the original and the phone is thus fake.

4. Specs

When buying a phone online double check the specifications of the device you are looking to purchase against the specifications released by the phone manufacturer. If they are different, the device could be a fake.

5. Packaging

Device manufactures take great care in their packaging as they need to ensure that no device is damaged in transit. As a result the packaging is always tightly sealed and all wording should be in the language of the country you are buying it in. If the packaging is untidy and the wording on the box is either too small or in a foreign language, the device could be a fake.

6. Logo

A logo is represents a brand/company, although counterfeit manufacturers may be able to copy most of the detail of the original logo they might skimp on quality. If you spot any defect in the logo, the device could be fake.

7. Manual

As with the external packaging, the manual will be in the language of the country it is being purchased in. If the manual is in a foreign language and poorly printed, the device might be fake.

8. Charger and cord quality

The charging unit of any device must be adapted for use in your country; a situation where you are offered to buy another charger should alert you immediately to the possibility of the device being a fake. The quality of cords is also another way to spot fake devices. The quality of rubber as well as thickness and length of the cord is a tell tale sign of a fake device.


Every genuine mobile phone has a serial number to register it to a carrier network. This number is called the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. The IMEI number can be used to verify the legitimacy of a phone. Often counterfeit models won’t have an IMEI number or use a fake one. If you are viewing the phone in person then you can find the IMEI number on the product packaging, under the phone’s battery or by pressing *06 on the phone. If you are not viewing the phone in person then you should ask the retailer for the phone’s IMEI number. To check the legitimacy of a phone’s IMEI number and any information regarding country of production, manufacturer and model type Input the phone’s IMEI in the box and hit “CHECK.” The system will verify the phone’s information. If it displays information different from the handset, then your handset might be fake.

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