London Fire Department Warns That Fake IPhone Chargers Could Kill People

IPhone chargerLondon Fire BrigadeThis iPhone charger is fake. You can tell because the pins are shiny. A genuine charger has pins with a matte finish.

In anticipation of Apple’s iPhone 6 announcement, happening later on Tuesday, the London Fire Brigade released a report warning about the dangers of counterfeit iPhone chargers, which “could put people’s lives at risk.”

“Our fire investigation experts carried out a range of tests on a number of widely available counterfeit chargers and say people who use these dodgy devices could be risking electrocution, burns or even a serious house fire,” the report said.

The department noted a recent case in which firefighters were called to an East London house after a fake device caught fire as it was charging. There was also an incident in 2013, in which a Chinese flight attendant was reportedly killed by an electric shock answering her iPhone while it was charging.

This is not the first time experts have warned about the risk of buying knock-off chargers. After a 7-year-old boy died from electrocution using a fake charger while playing his Gameboy, the Trading Standards Institute conducted an investigation, which found that 15 of 21 electrical chargers bought from UK-based sellers “did not comply with European and UK safety legislation.”

Officials say this is one item where it’s worth it to spend the extra money. “Genuine chargers may cost more and you may think you are only paying for the brand name, but you’re actually buying peace of mind because you know the charger is going to be of better quality and specifically designed for your phone,” fire investigator Andrew Vaughan — Davies said in a statement.

The original report also gave some advice on how to spot counterfeits in the UK:

  • The finish on the plug pins on genuine chargers is matt and uniform, but on counterfeits, the finish is glossy/shiny and the pins are at an irregular angle.
  • The dodgy chargers are often upside down compared to the authentic products.
  • The real chargers weigh over 40 grams (1 ounce). The fakes often weigh less.
  • The printed text on the faceplate is often darker on the sub-standard chargers and the casing on the majority on counterfeit chargers wasn’t flame retardant.

The department even has a fun quiz on their website to test your fake charger knowledge. See a screenshot from the quiz below and head over to the website to play.

What do you think: real or fake?

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