How to Identify a Pirated or Fake Cell Phone?

by | October 27, 2018

Fake cell phone manufacturers mimic all facets of the look of a branded phone to make their products look genuine. The external cover and phone screen, printed logos and markings, packaging and accessories can all be copied, making it difficult to identify a fake or original phone. Whenever possible, it is always preferable to buy a phone through a reputed dealer or large stores that can attest to the authenticity of a phone. However, with the prevalence of Internet shopping and auction sites, this may not be an option. Here are some simple tips to help you identify whether a phone is genuine or fake.

How to Identify a Pirated or Fake Cell Phone

Learn to separate the pirate cell phones from the original ones

It is important to do a little research before buying a new phone. You should only buy a phone manufactured by a reliable manufacturer. Before you commit to a purchase, you must know the specific model number of the phone, the colors available, the features, the software and hardware included, and the warranty offered to the product. Information about a specific phone model can be found on the manufacturer’s website or at an official dealer. Once you have this information, the task of identifying a false is much easier.

Fake Cell Phone Appearance

At first glance, a fake phone may look identical to a genuine model. In a closer comparison, you can identify some obvious differences between an original and a fake, such as the color, button location, size, or spelling of the brand name. Some fakes are less obvious. Counterfeiters can mimic design details to minute detail, making it difficult to tell if a phone is genuine. If you can view the product in person, you may notice a difference in weight, screen size, button and battery location, print quality and paint finish, added or missing functions, quality control stickers and holograms, and a lack of quality in detail.

Characteristics of a counterfeit cell phone

Counterfeit phones can have different features for original models such as dual SIM cards, analog TV, etc. Check the model number and technical specifications of the original phone you wish to purchase and verify that it matches what is being offered. Counterfeit phones also often offer features that simply do not exist or are not as they say. For example, it can be said that built-in cameras have 8 megapixels when they do not have or offer GPS when they do not have. Counterfeit phones may also differ from true color availability, memory capacity, camera megapixels, screen quality, and operating system. It is important to compare the technical features to ensure that the phone is original.

Fake smartphone features

Black-market phones are made from cheap, low-end components and are often run on second-line or pirated operating systems. Counterfeiters use older, cheaper chipsets that can offer the same functionality as a genuine model, but with much slower processing speeds. If you unknowingly bought a fake phone, you will notice it very quickly after you turn it on. Processing speeds are often much slower, operating systems have missing features, and the phone may not be compatible with software and applications from the device’s official store.

Pirate device availability

Fake cell phones tend to enter the market when a genuine model is out of stock or unavailable. Many times, if registered manufacturers and sellers say that a model is out of stock or unavailable, counterfeits begin to appear on auction sites and through unregistered sellers. This is also common when a phone is not available in certain colors. Beware that counterfeiters take this opportunity to deceive consumers when the genuine product is most sought after.

Mobile IMEI number and ANATEL seal

Every original cell phone has a serial number to register it on a network of carriers. This number is called the International Mobile Device Identity Number (IMEI). The IMEI number can be used to verify the legitimacy of a phone. Often, counterfeit models do not have an IMEI number or use a fake one. If you are looking at the phone yourself, you can find the IMEI number in the product packaging under the phone battery or by pressing * 06 on the phone.

If you are not seeing the phone in person, ask your dealer for the IMEI phone number. To verify the legitimacy of a phone’s IMEI number and any information related to the manufacturing country, manufacturer, and model type, you can use online tools to check the device’s IMEI.

Do not forget to check if the unit has the Anatel seal if it was imported into Brazil or purchased from a Brazilian supplier. This ensures that it has been verified in the country and reduces the chances of being faked.

How to identify fake batteries and chargers?

Cell phones are not the only electronic product targeted by counterfeiters. Black market batteries and mobile phone chargers are also infiltrating the market, posing a potential health and safety risk for consumers. Fake batteries and chargers are often offered as aftermarket products found on auction sites or in unregistered stores, often at a significantly lower price than genuine products.

Given the uniform appearance of most cell phone batteries and chargers, it can be difficult to identify which products are fake and which ones are genuine. Here are some simple tips to help you identify whether a battery and a charger are original or fake.

Buy from a reliable manufacturer and retailer

You should only buy mobile phone accessories made by a reputable manufacturer. If you want to replace a battery or charger, check the original manufacturer’s information to ensure you purchase the appropriate battery or charger for your phone model. It is important to note that you should only use a charger specified by the manufacturer to charge your phone’s battery. You should also try to buy your mobile accessories from a reliable retailer who can verify the authenticity of your products.


Most cell phone batteries and chargers are very similar, making it difficult to identify legitimate and counterfeit products. If you are able to inspect the product firsthand then you should look for signs of poor quality such as: inaccurate printing, incorrect text, crooked label placement and manufacturing defect signs. Some cell phone manufacturers also place hologram stickers on their batteries, which are difficult to reproduce by counterfeiters even though many try.


All genuine cell phone manufacturers offer a limited warranty covering the device, software and accessories. Most genuine accessories are covered for a certain period of time from the date of purchase by the original owner. Registered manufacturers and vendors also offer customer support and maintenance of damaged products. Black market batteries and chargers rarely come with a warranty or offer customer support and maintenance of damaged products. It is important to keep the receipt of any purchased mobile accessory so that you can make a warranty claim if the product is defective. It is also advantageous to keep all proof of purchase in case you have purchased a fake to be able to notify the competent authorities.


If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Fake cell phone batteries and chargers are made from cheap and low quality components, allowing them to be produced at a fraction of the price of genuine products. In addition, counterfeiters do not need to invest in research, design, and product safety testing. They do not pay government taxes, import taxes and are not bound by fair trade regulations or minimum wages for their employees. All of these factors mean that fakes can be sold at a much lower price than a genuine product.

What to do if you buy a fake cell phone, battery or charger?

If you bought a fake phone in error, try returning it from where you purchased it for a full refund. Then you should report the forgery sale to the police, the genuine owner of the mark and any relevant authorities as soon as possible. If you purchased the product online, try contacting the seller to request a refund and then report the counterfeit sale. Do not forget to look for PROCON in case you have any problem getting your money back.

Any questions? Leave comments your questions!