Beware of fake Apple chargers, 99 percent unsafe: study shows

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of bad news about fake Apple chargers. Now it’s even worst than you think. A new study claims that 99% of fake chargers are unsafe – about 400 fake Apple chargers were tested which were brought online from eight different countries – including the USA. Thousands of fakes are sold online yearly at a cheaper price.

The BBC reports that the tests were commissioned by UK consumer protection body Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), which found out that of 400 fake Apple chargers, just only three had proper insulation to guard against electric shocks in the most basic safety test performed. The CTSI advised consumers to buy only from reputable retailers…

Leon Livermore, Chartered Trading Standards Institute chief executive, said: “Only buy second-hand electrical goods that have been tested and only buy online electrical goods from trusted suppliers. It might cost a few pounds more but counterfeit and second-hand goods are an unknown entity that could cost you your home or even your life, or the life of a loved-one.”

A recent test by Apple showed that 90% of its goods marked as ‘genuine’ by online sellers were counterfeit.

How to spot a dangerous, counterfeit, mobile phone charger

The CTSI also provided four pieces of advice when checking a new charger:

1. Plug pins

Check that there is at least 9.5 mm between the edge of the pins and the edge of the charger (9.5 mm is about the width of a ballpoint pen). If the distance between the edge of the pins and the edge of the charger is less than 9.5 mm, there is a risk of electric shock when plugging in and unplugging the charger from a socket.

Plug the charger into a socket but don’t switch it on or connect it to your appliance.

Does it plug in easily? If the charger does not easily plug into a socket, the pins may be the wrong size or length, or the distance between the pins may be wrong. If pins do not fit properly into the socket, overheating, arcing and mechanical damage can occur to both the socket and the charger, which can be dangerous.

2. Markings

Look for a manufacturer’s brand name or logo, model and batch number. Check for a CE mark.

Check that the output voltage and current ratings marked on the charger and your electrical device are the same.

Do not rely on a CE mark alone as a guarantee of safety – it’s simply a declaration by the manufacturer that the product meets all the safety requirements of European law, but they can be easily forged.

3. Warnings and instructions

Adequate warnings and instructions must be provided. As a minimum, user instructions should provide information on conditions and limitations of use, how to operate the charger safely, basic electrical safety guidance and details of how to safely dispose of the charger when it is no longer required.

4. You can also safeguard your family and homes from dangerous chargers by:

  • Don’t over charge your product, once it is charged disconnect it and turn the charger off.
  • Never cover your device while its being charged, don’t put it under a pillow at night or in contact with bedding.
  • Never use a damaged charger with a cracked case or frayed cable or one that is not working properly.
  • And lastly, only use a genuine charger made and licensed for use with your product.

Overall, it isn’t worth risking your pricey gadgets just to save extra money on a charger and most importantly, you’ll also endangering your life.

Enough of the warning, don’t buy these cheap and unsafe chargers.