A new study from the UK has highlighted the dangers of using fake or unofficial smartphone chargers, the likes of which are widely sold throughout Thailand.
While counterfeit or unofficial chargers may be a more affordable alternative than official Apple or Samsung products, people are more likely to suffer severe injuries and can even risk their lives by using them, the study warned.
UK based charity Electrical Safety First carried out a series of tests on fake iPhone chargers and found that a staggering 98 percent of them posed a fire risk or could deliver a fatal electric shock.
Out of 50 brands tested, 49 failed the safety tests, while one in three failed every aspect of the safety screening.
The results are a worrying prospect for anyone who has bought a replacement charger online or from unofficial vendors found in shopping malls or at street markets in Thailand.
Commenting on the findings, Martyn Allen, technical director at Electrical Safety First, said: “It is extremely concerning that 49 out of 50 UK chargers we tested failed basic safety checks.
“This report shows that anyone purchasing an iPhone charger from an online marketplace or at an independent discount store is taking a serious risk with their safety.
“The majority of chargers we tested had the potential to deliver a lethal electrical shock or cause a fire. We’re urging people to take care when buying a charger and recommend buying directly from trusted retailers only. When you buy a fake, at best you could damage your phone but at worst you could be putting your life, your family and your home at risk.”
How to spot a fake iPhone charger
Check for safety marking on the charger
A common feature of many of the chargers tested in the study was that they all had fraudulent or incorrect safety markings.
Check the plug pins
The plug pins on a genuine iPhone charger are of high quality and uniform. They should feel solid and robust when flicked, which isn’t always the case with plastic chargers.
Check the USB connection
Take a look at the USB end of the charger. Again, this should be solid, well made and in the correct place. It shouldn’t be off centre and it shouldn’t move or become loose if you pull it.
Check the weight
Genuine iPhone chargers are normally heavier than counterfeit models because of the extra components they contain. A real iPhone charger will weigh around 40 grams.
Read what Apple says genuine iPhone chargers.