The BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) handsets you acquired recently might be fake. An online electronics retailer in California has been identified for selling fake Samsung and BlackBerry smartphones, according to the US federal authorities, who identified the retailer for importing and marketing forged smartphones.

BlackBerry

“We will not tolerate the importation and marketing of counterfeit devices,” said Travis LeBlanc, acting chief of enforcement at the FCC.

Galaxy, BlackBerry 9790 devices faked

The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said that online retailer Panasystem Corp of Canoga Park, Los Angeles has sold phones with fake labels, which falsely claimed that the devices are FCC approved.

LeBlanc said that the marketing of these devices has mugged the intellectual property of the original manufacturers and harmed consumers by failing to offer safe and certified smartphones that are in accordance with the FCC’s equipment authorization process.

After an investigation, it was found that FCC labels on all the counterfeit smartphones were invalid and the information in the equipment database of the agency did not match the information on these fake devices.

Models for which the counterfeit devices were sold by the retailer are Galaxy S Duos and Galaxy Ace Models, both bearing deceptive Samsung FCC identifiers. The FCC investigation also unearthed fake BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) Model 9790 devices.

If found guilty, Panasystem will have to pay a fine up to $16,000 per if it does not stop importing and selling the forged devices. There could also be criminal case against the retailer in which case the company officers may be jailed.

Fake phone sales number rising

Separately, an earlier report by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum revealed that 125 million substandard and forged mobile phones were sold across the globe in 2011. This number increased in 2012, when around 148 million counterfeit units of smartphones were sold.

For 2013, report estimated the number of units sold were 186 million. This means that around 8% of all mobile devices sold across the world in 2013 were substandard or counterfeits.

In India, 20% of the mobiles sold are counterfeit as per the report. Most of those units sold in India were made in China and had high levels of lead. A similar report surfaced in Brazil, where researchers found that the five counterfeit phones tested by them had very high lead and cadmium level compared to the amounts authorized in Europe.