99% of fake Apple chargers may pose a safety risk

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Only 3/400 counterfeit chargers have insulation to protect users against electric shocks.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Chances are that when you hear the occasional story about an iPhone exploding it’s because its users made the decision to use a dodgy, third-party charger.

But how dangerous are these chargers — and how likely is it that a third-party charger poses a safety risk to you or your family? Pretty darn likely, claim investigators — who have warned customers that 99 percent of fake Apple chargers they looked at failed a basic safety test.

The test was carried out by investigators at U.K. consumer group the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. Of 400 counterfeit chargers they examined, just three reportedly had enough insulation to protect users against potentially fatal electric shocks.

Leon Livermore, the chief executive of Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said that genuine chargers might cost a bit 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.”

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute also issued the below advice concerning ways to spot a dangerous fake charger:

Plug pins – Plug the charger into a socket, but don’t switch it on or connect to a device. If the charger does not fit easily, the pins may be the wrong size. There should be at least 9.5mm (0.3in) between the edge of the pins and the edge of the charger.
Markings – Look for a manufacturers’ brand name or logo, model and batch number. Check for the “CE” safety mark, but be aware it can be easily forged.
Warnings and instructions – User instructions should include conditions and limitations of use, how to operate the charger safely, basic electric safety guidance and details of safe disposal.

Apple has long taken proactive steps to get customers to use official chargers. A few years ago it announced a new USB Power Adapter Takeback Program for those who wish to swap out their third-party chargers for official ones.

More recently, it clamped down on counterfeit cables and chargers being sold on Amazon; filing a lawsuit against Mobile Star, which it said sold fake accessories which pose a risk to users.

Do you use an official Apple charger? Have you had any issues with unofficial (or even official) ones in the past? Leave your comments below.

Source: BBC