Powerful branding can make people do a lot of things, and when it comes to smartphones, Apple and Samsung are the top two brands in the world. Neither company makes especially affordable smartphones, although Samsung do release a range of more budget-friendly devices, while Apple makes little to no effort here at all. We’re lucky that, in 2016, there are more affordable options from brands like Motorola, BLU and OnePlus, all of which offer something we thought was impossible five years ago or so at their prices. Often though, the brand is more of a pull than the features and the overall value for money, with a lot of users settling for either a much older model from these high-end brands, or in worse cases, a counterfeit option that spoofs the original product.
In New York last week, NYPD successfully seized $7 Million worth of counterfeit smartphones pretending to be either Apple or Samsung models in a number of warehouses in Brooklyn. The NYPD had been working with customs agents from JFK Airport that had noticed suspicious packages coming into the country, and over the past nine months, the two have been gathering information, until when, last week NYPD officers stormed two storefronts in Brooklyn. The raids upon 203 Highlawn Ave. and 2172 Coney Island Ave. resulted in the seizure of 31,000 counterfeit smartphones as well as a cool $71,000 in cash. While this story is the sort of thing that sounds like another way of keeping Apple and Samsung’s prices up, it’s more about our well being than it is theirs. Unsuspecting users that have no big interest in the mobile world often settle for what seems like a good price, from a good name, and if they were to purchase counterfeit phones it could be dangerous to them and those around them.
Considering that producing counterfeit goods that wear another company’s brand is illegal, it’s highly likely that these smartphones have not gone through anything close to the same sort of inspections as original equipment. This, of course, puts users at risk from more than just a bad experience, as the batteries and components in these devices are not certified by the FCC and could potentially be harmful.