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Spotting counterfeit mobile phones from the genuine ones

Counterfeit mobile phone manufacturers imitate all facets of a phone’s appearance to make them appear genuine. The phones 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 phones 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. Price
    This should be the very first thing one should look at. If the price of the mobile phone is a lot cheaper than the original price of the phone then it is most likely to be a scam.
  2. Appearance
    On viewing the phone closely always check and observe the difference in weight, screen size, location of buttons and battery, quality of printing and paint finish, added or missing functions, quality control stickers and holograms.
  3. Missing or Added Features
    Counterfeit mobile phones can have differing features to genuine models, some can have features missing or ones that are unlike the original. For example, built in cameras might be said to be 8 Megapixel when they are not – or offer GPS when they don’t. Counterfeit phones may also differ from a genuine in colour availability, memory capacity, screen quality and operating system.
  4. Unofficial Models
    The disadvantage of having so many mobile phone models in the market is that it’s easy for imitations. Once you choose a phone, ensure that it is available in the official manufacturer’s catalogue, website, and so on.
  5. Keep Your Receipt
    Not only will it be your ‘proof of purchase’ when claiming warranty, it’ll also save you time in remembering the store where you bought your mobile phone. If you’ve found that your phone is a fake, you can use the receipt as evidence when you report it to the proper authorities.
  6. Warranty
    All genuine mobile phone manufacturers offer a limited warranty that covers the handset, software and accessories which is mostly one year from the date of the purchase, however, fake phones rarely come with a warranty or offer any customer support or servicing of damaged parts.
  7. IMEI Number
    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.
  8. Registration
    Equipment such as Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (RTTE) must be registered with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) before it can be used, sold or distributed in the UAE. Registered equipment shall be marked or have a mark on its packaging and user information to show that it may be used in the UAE.


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