Counterfeit goods of all kind have become an increasingly worrying problem in South Africa. Forget the clothing industry, the electronics industry has also suffered under the weight of these inferior, fake products. As tempting as it might be, buying a smartphone device from unauthorised dealers puts you at risk of losing out in the long run. Popular brands like Samsung are often targeted and consumers can be easily duped into buying a fake device. But there are ways to tell if your Samsung device is authentic. Samsung South Africa gives us all the info we need to figure out if the Samsung device we have or are about to buy is in fact a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“The problem facing consumers who do not purchase their device at a Samsung approved dealer, is that there are no consumer care or repair options available to support any of the device components, or any way of being compensated if the product turns out to be a counterfeit” says Richard Chetty, Service Director at Samsung Electronics South Africa. So, it goes without saying that ‘Samsung’ smartphones that do not carry a two-year Warranty are obviously not authentic.

“If the purchase price is too good to be true, then it probably is. For example, if a Samsung Galaxy smartphone is found on sale at a much-reduced price, we urge consumers to check with our customer care centres before purchasing the device, or else they may be left with a fake product”, says Chetty.

One way to determine if a device is real or not is examining the physical differences between an authentic Samsung smartphone and a counterfeit model. The Samsung logo on counterfeits is slightly raised, like a sticker and the screen will also appear a tad lighter than on a genuine device. A closer look at a genuine Samsung device will also reveal sensors on the forward facing camera, which do not appear on a fake unit.

Battery size is another obvious giveaway especially on the Samsung Galaxy S4. The genuine battery is much larger, has higher quality labels and well-designed positive and negative nodes. “The battery is probably the most important determinant of a fake device as it will impact how the device is charged,” warns Chetty. “The design of the battery compartment is very different with softer connectors on the genuine phone while the sticker displays the IMEI number clearly alongside the ICASA branding.”

It is also important to note that a counterfeit Samsung Galaxy S5 also comes in a genuine Samsung box. These are often sourced illegally and it is advisable to open the box first to ensure it is a genuine device.

Other things to look out for include:

– The genuine device has around seven to eight screws whereas the counterfeit device has only two or three screws and the rest are imitations.

– A fake battery will always say ‘Made in Korea’, with no specific mention to where it was assembled whereas a genuine battery will always specify where the ‘cell’ was made and assembled.

– On screen off mode on the authentic device’s screen appears darker whereas the counterfeit screen appears much lighter.