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How to check for genuine mobile phones from the Communications Authority of Kenya via text message

Mobile phones continue to lead in the number of counterfeit electronics in Kenya, with a lot of counterfeits readily available in Nairobi streets. The trend has seen clones of major brands such as iPhones and Samsung phones sold to unsuspecting Kenyans only to realize when its already late. Previously, we reported on tuvuti how to avoid falling victim of counterfeits but as we all can agree even the smartest of us all can still be a victim.

The communications authority of Kenya has finally unveiled a text-based system that will help Kenyans identify counterfeit mobile phones by sending their IMEI number for verification. It has been pretty hard to tell apart fake android devices since most run the same android OS with similar interfaces compared to iPhones which you’d only need to login to the App store and differentiate an android mimic to the real Appstore.

In a public notice issued by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), the authority unveiled the text based counterfeit mobile phone verification system referring to its mandate to protect consumers against devices that weren’t genuine. The authority is currently in charge of preventing the sale of illegitimate electronic devices in the country adding to its regulatory roles in the telecommunications, e-commerce, cyber-security, broadcasting as well as postal and courier services.  

How to verify a genuine mobile phone from the communications Authority of Kenya via a text message

  • First, you’ll need to find out the phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identifier) number by dialing *06#
  • Write the IMEI number somewhere, or if its on the retail box, note it and key in a new message body
  • Compose a new text message with the IMEI number such as “35600000000000000000” and send it to 1555
  • The sms does not attract additional charges
  • You’ll then receive a response from the CAK showing the phone’s details including “Make” and “Model
  • If the details match, then it’s confirmed to be genuine anything else is an immediate red flag of a counterfeit handset.

The authority further cautioned Kenyans against devices that are not genuine saying they are of poor quality and do not offer the ultimate experience. Besides offering poor service, CAK added that these phones could also pose as a risk to personal health as well as national security.


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