How to Spot Counterfeit Tech Products

Henry Baker

With the iPhone 5S out and the holiday season fast approaching, the season for gadget buying is already in full swing. Along with the steals and deals you might find from secondhand stores in person and on the Internet, an entire cottage industry of counterfeit items is just waiting to take your money — $700 billion worth, according to So how do you spot the fakes? Here are some tips to be sure that your next iPhone is not an iPhony.

Let's start with the iPhone. Make sure , when buying a used one, that the serial number is legit. Apple's website is a good tool for determining that what you're getting is a real iPhone. And you'll need a charger for that phone. Real ones will say "Designed by Apple in California." Look out for knockoffs that read "Designed in China" or, more dubiously, "Designd Abble [sic]." But there are other pieces of irresistible tech out there. For an Xbox, look out for the official Microsoft logo on the sticker on the box. Frauds usually feature something bogus, like "X360." And just in case you need a new PS3 controller, just remember: Sony doesn't make orange ones.

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