Skip to main content

How to Identify an original and fake mobile phone

What are your chances of buying an original phone, taking into consideration that we are swamped with fake mobile phones?

Fake phones are often practically the same from genuine ones, since they are made with the intention of misleading buyers that they have the real product while fake product are made to look as close as possible like the real ones but have a twist, only noticeable at closer look.

In Kenya for instance, it could be a tainted  brand name for example, Nokia for Nokla, hi phone instead of iPhone, samsvng instead of Samsung.

While there are a handful of people who knowingly buy fake phones, mostly because they are cheap, most people are unsuspecting victims of counterfeits because they cannot distinguish the real from the fake. Some of the ways to differentiate between which of the phones are genuine and which are fake include:

Made in China does not always mean fake.

Many international corporations manufacturing handsets have factories in different parts of the World including China. For example, Nokia has production facilities in China, India, South Korea, Hungry, Finland, Mexico to mention just a few. No seller should then tell you not to buy a phone because of its geographical origin. Fake handsets, are usually smuggled from Dubai, Singapore and also China.

Fake phones are cheaper than original ones.

This is not always the case. Counterfeiters know which  models of which handsets maker are fast selling around the world and start making copies of those hit models. Due to the high demand of the particular models, counterfeiters hardly change the price. Furthermore, when you get it cheap, the phone's life is usually short, exploding when charging or just turning them on.

That only priced phone models are targeted by counterfeiters.

Higher value phones such as Nokia E37 model is definitely a better target for counterfeiters since they expect higher returns. No phone model is immune; be careful of fake Samsung models such as Samsvng E250, Samsing D880, Samsang D780 whose original versions are priced both at the lower and upper ends

  • Place of purchase: Where you buy a phone is one of the most important considerations to avoid fake ones. I would recommend Mobile service providers' such as Safaricom, Orange, Yu and Zain. This is because they are highly recommended by the handset manufacturers. Nakumatt is also another option.
  • Warranties:  Always insist on 12 months warranty certificate from the handset manufacturers; Never an oral agreement with the seller. Fake phones come with a shorter warranty periods since counterfeiters cannot guarantee it will last so long
  • Be careful about the spelling:  Counterfeiters will replace some letters in the brand names to make the difference unnoticeable. For example, Soniericsson, Nokla and Samsvng
  • Check for performance of the handset: Some people carry their phones home without testing it first. Some dealers encourage this, knowing the handset is fake. As you check it out, you may notice some points of low performance such as memory which is smaller or poor quality photos.
  • Price: When the deal is too good think twice. When shopping for a particular phone model, you will often have a price range in mind and if you get an unbelievably good offer, you may have cause to be suspicious. I would suggest checking around from various shops.
In a view to protect consumers from falling victims to fake mobile handsets, Nokia and Samsung have identifiable features on their phones that customers should look out for:

  1. Gives a 12 month warranty, which is indicated and is valid.
  2. In Kenya, Swahili is on the language option menu as well as in the operating manual
  3. Buy your phone at authorized dealers such as Nokia center.
  4. Batteries have a hologram watermark that bears the Nokia patent and the two hands logo. The edge of the logo has the words "original enhancement" engraved on it.
  5. *#0000# only works with genuine Nokia to give you the software version that was used for your mobile phone and the year of manufacturer.

    Also, the easiest way to tell the origin of your phone is to  press *#06# on your phone and the IMEI number will appear. Then check the seventh and eighth digit of this 15-digit number. If the seventh and eighth digits are 0 2 or 2 0 this means your cell phone was manufactured in China and may be of questionable quality. When the 7th and 8th digits are 0 1 or 1 0 your mobile phone was made in Finland which most likely is a good quality.

    But if the 7th and 8th digits are 0 8 or 8 0 this means your cell phone was manufactured in Germany. However, if these digits are 0 0, then your cell phone was made in original factory which is best in phone quality. 05, indicates your phone was made in Brazil or USA. 03, shows your phone was made in Korea. IMEI also indicates the serial number of the phone which should be similar to the serial number inscribed at the back of your mobile phone. You can verify at the shop of purchase.
Note: The IMEI is a unique 15-digit code that identifies a phone. It stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). The IMEI is an automatically registered with the mobile service provider as soon as your phone is activated. For every call you make, your mobile phone provider gets to know the IMEI number.

The 15-digit code is important because it prevents the use of stolen handsets from making calls and allows security agencies to track down a specific user. It also helps to track and render stolen phones useless. That means, if a phone is reported stolen, and the IMEI is reported, it can be blocked from registering in any mobile network in that country. Thus, you need to be concerned if your cell phone has no IMEI number. You are carrying a fake phone.

If your device is dual-SIM by design, which means both SIM cards can be connected to the network at the same time, it has two IMEI numbers.
  1. Look out for Samsung genuine seal and register your new phone using e-warranty.  To register your phone using e-warranty; send an sms to 5585 with the following information: *IMEI number# for e.g. reg*352800311107673#. The IMEI number can be found inscribed on your battery or press *#06#, and follow instructions as stated above.
  2. Samsung phones comes with a 1 year warranty from the date of purchase.
  3. Basic features are FM radio, colour screen and mobile tracker. As handsets go into mid and high end markets more features such as MP3 player, Mega pixel camera, Blue tooth, GPS are available. Look for more features at
  4. Retail prices are set by distributors such as FoneXpress, which are carried in newspapers adverts to help the buyers know the price range of particular handsets.


  1. I bought a samsung phone (C3212) having a 04 as the seventh and eight letter. Its always hanging. It has been taken to samsung offices in kenya for repaire but still disapointing.what can I do. Its really making me to hate their phones forever because I feel like am not being helped. Wat can one do in such a situation.

    1. Sorry about your predicament. Frankly, hanging or frozen phones is a common problem esp for Nokia and Samsung devices. Mild hang or frozen problems can be solved by factory data or hard reset. Since your phone hangs often, perform a factory reset through your menu setting. This will restore back the phones factory default setting. If you're prompted for a password, just enter it (check your phone manual) then select erase everything to confirm. If this solution doesn't fix it, then hard reset your device by way of button combination (ask customer care for instruction).

      If the problem is severe, the cause could be your phone's firmware or software. Lately, have you downloaded anything from the internet such as apps, ringtones? These risky installation from the web could be the cause of your phone's demise. The only solution is to re-store the device to its original stock-firmware. This will clean up and return the phone to its original self (just like when you bought it as brand new). At times, these severe hanging problems could be as a result of hardware failure due to dropping the phone on hard ground or in water. Your phone's hardware and software will thus need to be calibrated again.

      My suggestion: 04 digit on your phone, indicates that it was made in China. Before taking drastic actions, factory re-set your phone and wait for 1-2 weeks to see how it behaves. If the problem still persists, visit Samsung customer care (I hope you've your receipt), and request for instructions on how to hard press. If the problem cause is not as a result of your installation of risky internet files or having dropped the phone on the ground or in water. Insist for a replacement or refund. I hope you were covered by a warranty. I hope this helps. Tell me how it goes.

    2. That is why I refuse to buy Samsung ever... I had several problems with Samsung products (mobile phone, smart phone, and household appliences). So forget Samsung and switch to a more reliable brand... :)

    3. @ Bert, I can't agree with you more. Well said :)

    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. @mary The unusual behaviour of your cell phone may be as a results of a virus (as explained by Felix) or that your battery is becoming to hot!

  3. i bought samsung e250 and its battery is filled up at 1 hour, furthermore, its browser is not active, please help! Edward

  4. my phone switches off everytime, what copuld be the problem?

    1. Hi Edward.Firstly, FYI the battery time indicated on most handsets is optimumly achieved is your cellphone is not in use or is in a good signail area. Now, if this is not the case and still your battery drains to quickly. I'll advise you to find a friend or colleague having Samsung e250 and test your battery. If the battery running time works well in your pal's phone, then the problem is not the battery rather your handset. Maybe there's a fault in connection between the battery and the Samsung e250. If this is the case, return it to Samsung (if it's under warranty). Otherwise, if the running time of the test battery is poor then the problem is the battery. Go to a genuine Samsung vendor and buy a new one.

  5. hei i use samsung galaxy ace GT-S5830I.. does it ori??..does it diff with samsung galaxy ace GT-S5380...if its ori what make it,
    distinguish between them.

    1. Samsung Galaxy Ace GT-S5830i vs GT-S5380. Other than blue-tooth and CPU speed which are the only main difference between the two cell phone. Their dimensions, weight and even talk and stand-by time are similar.

  6. what code do you need to appy to know an orginal nokia phone ?

    1. Dial *#06# the IMEI or serial number will appear in the screen. Compare that number with the number underneath your phone battery. If they are alike then it's an original phone. Else, it's fake.

    2. it is so true thank you for sharing true information . thank you.

  7. Anonymous5:29 PM

    my samsung galaxy y 7th and 8th digit 05 it original or not

    1. To know whether your phone is original or not, compare the IMEI number to that found inscribed on your battery. If they match the your phone is original else, it's fake. The 7th and 8th digits denotes the origin of the phone. Other codes that may be useful other than (*#06# IMEI code) are:
      *#9999# or *#9998*9999# Software Version
      *#8888# or *#9998*8888# Hardware Version
      *#9998*746# or *#9998*0746# or *#0746# Sim Infos
      *#9998*288# or *#9998*0288# or *#0288# Battery/Field Infos
      *#9998*76# production number
      *#9998*778# or *#9998*0778# or *#0778# Sim Service table
      *#9998*76# production number
      Hope this help :)

  8. Anonymous10:20 AM

    hi,i have a nokia#5130 phone made in china and the seventh and eight number is 03.Is it original?Martin.Thanks.

  9. How long do cloned phones last? My brother bought me an HDC galaxy s3 as a present and I love it! I've seen lots of good reviews of them but what are the life expectancies?

    1. @ Karl, probably about 2 years, length of contract...or slightly less. Though, 'life expectancy' of most phones, be it a brand or clones is high. Other than the normal wear-and-tear (i.e. cracked cases, screens, etc). Notably, after a long period of use, batteries capabilities decline. More so with the clones (doesn't hold a charge). Also, with time the clones get too heavy for the hardware to process. This is mainly due to clogged software (not supported apps and OS's updates). Regards - Felix

  10. Anonymous10:56 PM

    Hi.. i have a galaxy s3 mobile with imei 354017052425929.. where was my mobile manufactured?

    1. Your Samsung IMEI (354017052425929) checks out: Please see our analysis:

      Model: GT-I9300
      Brand: SAMSUNG
      Manufacturer: SAMSUNG KOREA
      Device type: PHONE
      Imei checksum: Check digit 9 is CORRECT
      Type Allocation Code (TAC): 35401705
      Serial number: 242592
      Check digit: 9
      Additional info: 19300 GALAXY S III

      Regards - Felix

    2. hi, my galaxy s3 mini mobile imei no is 355577050968443 can you please check is this a original phone

    3. Validate. It's original. Details as below: Model: I8190 Galaxy S III mini, Brand: Samsung, IMEI: TAC: 355577 FAC: 05 SNR: 096844 CD: 3 etc.

  11. Anonymous7:40 PM

    Hi.. i have a galaxy wonder mobile with imei 352728059452839.. where was my mobile manufactured?ori or not?

    1. Validated. Original. Details includes: Model: I8150 Galaxy W, Brand: Samsung, IMEI: TAC: 352728 FAC: 05 SNR: 945283 CD: 9 etc.

  12. Anonymous5:23 PM


    1. Thanks. Else, check replies relating to the same theme, below

  13. HI i have purchase Galaxy S3 (I9305) whose IMEI number is 353575051422503. I got intact box and printed IMEI in BOX/Mobile phone is exactly same when i got by dialing *#06#.

    1. See replies related to the same theme, below.

  14. Am planing on getting a samsung galaxy s3 or samsung note 2 tomorrow, pls how do i knw if its original?.... Pls i need ur response asap. Merci bien.

    1. Below, see replies related to the same theme.

  15. Anonymous8:14 PM

    Is a phone(bb) that is 04 ok?
    Secondly, i want to get a used sansung galaxy note 2 this week.... Pls how do i knw if its not chinko am buying. Or what are d ways to knw if its authentic. Plsssssssssss reply me i beg u. Thanks

    1. For Blackberry, if the 7th/8th no. of your 15 digit IMEI is 04, then it's a limited edition made in Canada. Else, of codes are 02/20, 08/80, 03 their origins are from Asia, Germany, France. Otherwise, any other nos with the exceptions of the above, that phone is not original.
      For all Galaxies, dial *#0*#, then check the options provided. Other useful codes includes * #1234# to check software version of phone, *#12580*369# to check software and hardware information etc. Regards

  16. I bought Samsung galaxy s ii( gt 19105)
    I have doubted fake
    Phone back side /made by Samsung
    Imei. 355983052801022/01
    Silver hologram printinted JE vkp

    1. To check if your Samsung s3 (plus other modes of Galaxies) is original or fake, dial *#0*#. An LCD TEST screen appears, below it contains other options to test your hardware and/or software. Other codes that maybe a lifesaver includes:
      * #1234# to check software version of phone
      *#12580*369# to check software and hardware information.
      *#32489# Service mode
      *#0228# Battery status

    2. Anonymous9:05 PM

      Hi Felix, can you please tell me whether the following imei is genuine or not?

      imei: 357080052014306/01

      Can you also tell me where you are checking it from?

  17. Anonymous1:26 PM

    hey felix, can u tell me whether my phone is genuine or not?

    imei :357407040021723/01

  18. my phone model is S5360T
    when i checked the EMIE no in my phone it was the same as what I found at the back!
    is mymobile a good one??
    and also what can i know and check by *#1234# & *#0*#
    Thank you!!

    1. To check whether it's original, try to dial *#0*# and tap every windows if it's responsive then you have got a genuine handset. Look at the firmware and kernel version of your phone etc

  19. Choosing the original device can make a huge difference as far as quality communication is concerned.

  20. hii felix.. i baught a used galaxay win(quattro) from some unknown person through a website. After reaching the home i insert the sim in its both sim slots, but its not detecting the sim. I tried the same sim card in other phones its working fine. So i again checked the same galaxay win(quattro) mobile with another network operator sim card, but this time also its not showing the sim and its written "no sim" on top of the screen. Can u pls tell me what is the problem with mobile. Is it a fake one ? Can i get any solution for this ? Pls help me because i can't contact the person i baught the phone as his number is switched off.
    Other details of phone are
    galaxay win(quattro)
    IMEI No 356575051580224 and 356575051580225.
    .Pls Pls help me with some solution.

  21. hii felix.. i baught a used samsung galaxy win(quattro) from an unknown person through a website. Lookwise the phone seem to be original so i baught it from him. But after returning home when i insert my sim card it do not detect the sim and shows "no sim" on top of the screen. I tried the same sim card with other phones also, its working fine. So, again i tried to insert som other network provider sim card but this time also my phone is not detecting the sim. Can u tell me pls what is the problem with mobile. Is it fake or real ? Is there any solution for this ? I can't contact the person from whom i baught this phone as his number is switched off. Kinly help me and tell what to do.
    The IEMI no of phone is 356575051580224 and 356575051580225. I also have checked its IEMI no by dialing *#06# and its matching the no under the battery.
    Seeking help from u.

    1. Hi Abhinav,

      Sorry for the late response. Else, checked your IMEI and it's valid. Probable solutions:
      Probable causes:
      (1) May be you're inserting the sim card wrongly? See how to insert the sim card via (
      (2) Since the sim card could be read by other phones, then the problem is not the sim or network rather the phone. You may try to factory reset it. How? (a) Remove the battery for about 10 minutes (b) To correct the software that connects your phone to the network; re-set. To reset press the volume up, menu, and power buttons simultaneously and hold until blue text at the top of the screen appears. Then using the volume controls scroll down to factory reset and pushed the menu button to select. After the reset is completes itself (indicated by message at the bottom of the screen in yellow text), scroll to reboot and press menu. The phone reboots. From there manually enter any relevant details.
      (c) To check whether it's original, try to dial *#0*# and tap every windows if it's responsive then you have got a genuine handset. Look at the firmware and kernel version of your phone etc.
      Keep me posted on the progress...

  22. sonam2:18 PM

    felix..... Man u r superb.....wrking with so much of zeal....salute to ur wrk....superb

  23. y'all should note all galaxy s3 mini phones made in korea are not original. A lot of people claim it is probably the best clone in the market. Anyways a decorated monkey is still a monkey


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How to Verify Your Land Title Deed is Genuine

Cases of forged title deeds are on the increase. Therefore, people are losing money to con men as they are taken advantage of due to their ignorance regarding land transaction matters. While thinking of owning land, it is vital to be aware of how you can verify a title deed before investing your hard earned cash.

As you plan to commit your money to buy and construct your dream home, verify that, the seller is the genuine owner, the land exists and is free from restrictions. Also be sure that you are not buying land on a road or railway reserve and above all, that the title deed is genuine.

How farmers can double their bean yield production

"As Jack slept, the beans germinated in the soil, and by morning a big beanstalk grew in their place. When Jack saw the great beanstalk, he immediately decided to climb..." This is a classic scenario of 'Jack and the Beanstalk' fairy tale. The same is true for Kenya's bean variety that climbs and spreads on sticks producing double the yield of local varieties.

Due to subdivision of land in Kenya, farmers are not able to produce enough beans to feed the 38.6 million people living in Kenya.This is mainly due to shrinking land sizes. This is the reason why high yielding varieties of beans that only need a small area to grow has been developed. These new varieties of beans require support with stakes (sticks) to climb on when they are growing.

The beans can grow up to a height of 3.5 meters. The long stems of this variety of beans enable it to produce more pods as compared to the normal bean varieties (bush bean).   With good management climbing beans can produce u…

Herbal Plants used for Alternative Medicine with no side effect

In a sad note, most indigenous informants keep herbal knowledge, especially the actual preparation methods, strictly secret. Luckily, an aged medicine man from Gatundu in Central Kenya, whose great knowledge of medicinal plants facilitated the write-up of this article.
In part one of this article, plants are grouped according to their medicinal use. According to the aged medicine man, simply boil the leaves, roots or the bark; add honey or milk or soup to sweeten the concoction. He recommends taking a glass in the morning and in the evening for preventive measures. 
He cautions on their medicinal uses which should be considered as neither preparation methods nor dosage prescription are provided. This is a topic that would require much more time and I have decided to leave it for part two of this article.
Best Herbal Plants for alternative Medicine with no side effects

I have grouped their medicinal uses in three parts which are,       Alternative medicine for preventive measuresHerbal …