Los Angeles county officials cracking down on counterfeit cellphone chargers

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Cellphone chargers are something we all have, and most people have more than one. But counterfeit chargers have a 99 percent failure rate and could cause injury.

"Counterfeit chargers can cause shock, can cause fire," Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said.

Feuer is taking action against L.A. businesses who sell counterfeit cellphone chargers. The counterfeit chargers look almost identical to Apple's USB chargers.

"Lawsuits against two stores, civil actions, where we allege that undercover purchases recovered more than 15,000 allegedly counterfeit cellphone chargers and related accessories," Feuer said. "We have the possibility of shutting down the business altogether, and that is what the aspiration is here."

The sale of counterfeit chargers extends far beyond the city of L.A. ABC7 employee Evan Sanford unknowingly bought a charger online via an ad he saw on Facebook.

"It literally caught on fire in my hand and so I dropped it because it was on fire, and I didn't want to burn myself. I just got some water and threw it on the ground because my cord was on fire," he said.

So how can you protect yourself from purchasing a counterfeit charger?

One tip is to look for the UL mark on the charger. Investigators found that fake chargers either didn't have the UL symbol or it was phony. Another tip is if the price is significantly lower than what you're used to paying, it's probably fake.
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