How to tell a real Samsung Galaxy S4 from a fake phone

real Samsung Galaxy S4 and which one is a fake ?

Can you spot the difference in the picture above? which of these phones is the real Samsung Galaxy S4 and which one is a fake ? Here is how to tell a real Samsung Galaxy S4 from a fake phone:

A friend brought me their Samsung Galaxy S4 phone as they were having some issues with the device. Upon inspection of the phone, I immediate knew that it was a fake. Scammers have become masters as fooling the public into purchasing knockoff counterfeit devices.

Unwanted gift or upgrade 

“Unwanted gift” or “unwanted birthday present” or “unwanted upgrade”. These would be the typical headlines that scammers use on free classifieds websites to sell their devices as they hide among the legitimate sellers of unwanted devices (and there are plenty of those). The ad would typically include a picture of the phone and its box with the charger and headphone accessories too.  The box is the convincer. That the part that visually convinces the prospective buyer that the phone is not stolen but an actual upgrade as that is the only explanation of why the seller would have the box. Unfortunately when you don’t know what to look for and especially when it is the first time you are seeing a new operating system, then its easy to fall victim.

Everyone except the scammer suffers

Fake phones are no-win situation and are a major problem facing mobile manufacturers. Fake phones are not the “grey” imported phones which are legitimate products just purchased overseas and not bought from the local supplier. But these are phones that are dressed up to look exactly like the real branded phones and sold with the sole aim to dupe the public into parting with their money. WHEN these fake devices fail, the unsuspecting purchaser is very quick to jump onto social media and aim their frustrations at the brand which causes reputational damage to the brand even they are not at fault.

While a cheap phone sound like you are getting a bargain, they can be very expensive. Not only can the device have software installed that will steal your info but the software could subscribe you to premium services that are billed to your account costing your thousands.

There is no assurance of the quality of the device nor its battery and therefore you run the real risk of holding a device to your head that could literally explode. If you leave the device in the wall charger overnight, the device could heat up and cause a fire. You simply don’t know.

Don’t be a victim

So that no one falls victim to these scammers, check out this video where I compare the fake Galaxy S4 phone to the real Samsung Galaxy S4  phone. The differences become obvious quickly.

Here are some signs to look out for to minimise the risk of landing up with a dud:

Identify the phone

Before you purchase a phone ensure that you research it first. Go to the manufacturer’s website and look at the pictures. Usually there will be an option to zoom into the pic or get a close up of specific part. Have a close look to see what is the official model number? What are the available colours? Does it have a removable battery? Where does the SIM go? Does it have a microSD and where is that slot? Once you have this information then you are able to identify the critical components of the device.

Buying Online

Scammers like to advertise their fake phones on classified sites with a good picture of the phone and an attractive price. They will use a disposable email address such as Gmail or Hotmail and a pre-paid cell number. Be careful when buying from someone that meets all these criteria. Never hand over money to anyone without first inspecting the phone. An emailed picture is not good enough as these are copied from the manufacture’s website and therefore buying without seeing the device from someone listing their device on a free classifieds site is highly risky.

Buying online from a reputable brand-name online dealer is fine as long as the dealer is authorised to sell such item.  When buying online using a credit card, you have some protection – check with your bank. To check if an online dealer is reputable check out sites like Hellopeter and a Google search about that company will bring up all reports (good and bad).

Switch On

Scammers will try sell you a phone that is not switched on saying it has not been charged. Never buy a device you can’t switch on. Even a device with a flat battery can be switched on by plugging it into the wall charger and waiting a couple of minutes. Whilst charging, the screen should have very specific graphics and fake phone often don’t mimic those graphics.

Open it

If the phone is supposed to have a removable battery then the back cover should be able to be opened. If it does not then it is a fake. When opening the back, look out for the location of the SIM slots – does it match your research? Is the battery supposed to be that size?

Make a call

When phone-shopping take with you a R5 pre-paid SIM card, put that SIM in the phone and make a phone call. Does that work? Can you hear and be heard clearly? If the phone is stolen, it will not be able to make a call if it is blacklisted on the networks.

Feel the Pressure

Fake phones usually become available when the real manufacturer is out-of-stock and there is a demand. This is when scammers will try to pressurise you into buying saying that they have other interested people or that they can have it delivered today but need to deposit the money now to secure the phone. Never buy under pressure and of course the old adage of price: If its too good to be true, then is probably a fake.

2 Comments

  1. Hi, a colleague of mine stepped into this trap purchasing a Galaxy S4. First thing I cheched was for the prescence of the ICASA logo. There was none. I then noted The EIMEI number and then interrogated the phone. The eimei number on the label did not match the one in the ROM. The system provided for two sim cards yet there was only one slot on the pcb. The oly thing that was relatively functional was the FM radio. Did I mention that he parted with R2000 cash “on the street corner” Sorry to say, there’s no pills for stupidity, go buy your phone from an accredited dealer.

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