Scientists find 99 percent of off-brand iPhone chargers are dangerous, so that’s fun.
If you’re anything like us, you lose your iPhone charger all the time.
And unless you try one of these 4 Brilliant Ideas For People Who Always Lose Their Chargers, you probably pick up a replacement at a convenience store—not your nearest Apple store.
But taking the cheap route may come at a cost. On Monday, a global safety report from the U.K. Trading Standards Organization found that 99 percent of non-Apple, iPhone-compatible chargers (a.k.a. fake Apple chargers) don’t meet basic safety standards.
Engineers subjected 400 counterfeit iPhone chargers to basic tests (like an electrical strength test) to identify potential safety risks. The off-brand chargers came from multiple countries around the world, including the U.S., Canada, and China.
The results: All but three of the 400 chargers tested were found to be highly likely to catch fire, cause electrocution, or cause electric shock if exposed to high voltage, such as a common power surge.
Twelve of the counterfeit chargers were so poorly designed and constructed that they posed a risk of lethal electrocution to users.
These chargers have killed before: In 2013, a man in Thailand was found dead with his hand still on his iPhone that was plugged into a wall outlet. Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission conducted an investigation that concluded the man’s charger was not produced by Apple, and was improperly shielded and grounded.
How can you tell your iPhone charger is a fake? Look for these warning signs:
Read the fine print. Frauds often include spelling errors, such as “Abble” instead of “Apple.” Other times, the text just doesn’t match up. Some fakes say “Designed in Happy Travel” instead of “Designed by Apple in California.”
Check the price. Real Apple iPhone chargers retail for approximately $19. If you pay anything less, you’re going to get your money’s worth.
Make sure it comes in a box. Apple iPhone chargers are sold in white Apple packaging—not in loose bins.
Check the certification. Make sure the device has a certification mark, such as a “UL mark,” to ensure that it has been tested for compliance with applicable safety standards. UL marks are identified by “LISTED” in capital letters.
Just go to the Apple store and buy a damn charger. Wouldn’t you rather drive an extra mile to the mall than be electrocuted?