Thursday, January 27, 2022

How to check if a phone is genuine in Kenya

The Communications Authority of Kenya has set up a simple process to help Kenyans verify the authenticity of devices they’re purchasing. With the increase in demand for smartphones, and with the constant launch of new products with incredible features, a lot of knock-offs and fake phones have flooded the market.

Sometimes these knockoffs are sold as if genuine, sometimes they alter the naming schemes, sometimes they are just weirdly branded and sold as new products. Ensuring that people don’t use such devices is important because they haven’t been tested, and neither have they been certified. Which means they can offer sub-standard quality, or even be security risks – accessing your personal information, sending it to the manufactures. Even worse, the devices can have been used to carry out illegal affairs, or at times be health risks because of the tech inside them not being certified.

In a bid to reduce the risks of Kenyans owning fake devices, the Communication Authority has a simple procedure for Kenyans. This should be done before purchasing the device, but can also be done after purchasing. So if you already have a phone, you can check if it is genuine.

Here’s how to check a phone is fake:

  1. Dial “#06# on the mobile phone to display the International Mobile Equipment Identifier IMEI number of the mobile phone.
  2. Note down the displayed IMEI number.
  3. Alternatively, if you cannot dial since the phone is still unboxed, check the IMEI number that’s displayed on the side of the box.
  4. Send the IMEI Number, as an SMS to 1555. This is a FREE service.
  5. You will receive an SMS response from the Authority displaying details of the mobile phone, including the make and model.
  6. If the details displayed in the SMS message are the same as those of the mobile phone used to send the text message and/or the one intended to be purchased, then it is genuine.
  7. If the displayed details do not match, then the mobile phone used to send the SMS or intended to be purchased is not genuine.
Fake Phones Kenya Verification

Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to verify this with an online purchase. You won’t be able to see the IMEI number of a device from a listing online. Hopefully, the CA is working to ensure all online retailers sell genuine devices.

The best solution currently remains this: only pay on delivery especially if you don’t trust the online seller. So that once device is delivered, before paying, check the IMEI number and send it to 1555. If it is genuine you can go ahead and pay.

Try out different IMEI numbers to devices you have in your house, or those owned by family and friends, and see how many counterfeit products you may have bought unknowingly.

Sidenote: I use the first IMEI number for my dual SIM devices. I think either works, but the Authority hasn’t stated if one should check on both.



Leave a Reply

Dickson Otieno
I love reading emails when bored. I am joking. But do send them to

More to read:

Photos and Specs of Infinix’s first 5G smartphone

Infinix is expected to launch its first 5G smartphone soon. The device will be powered by the Mediatek Dimensity 900 5G processor.

M1 MacBooks; Hype or Substance?

We sat down; myself, Chenze (Android Kenya) and Kanali (TechTrendsKe) to discuss the devices, since we all have M1 Powered MacBooks.

Huawei MatePad T10 Kids Edition now available for KES 26,000

The HUAWEI MatePad T10 Kids Edition Tablet is now available in Kenya for KES 26,000 with 2GB RAM, 32GB storage and a 5100mAh battery

One of macOS Monterey’s biggest features is yet to arrive

During WWDC 2021, Apple was very excited about Universal Control - a feature that would enable unmatched continuity across Apple devices.

How to pay for NTSA services using T-Kash

Among the services you can pay for under the NTSA Portal include Includes applying for a provisional driving license, book a driving test, getting a driving license, pay fees and tracking your application:

How to choose the right Safaricom Home Fibre Package

Safaricom Home Fibre is now available in many more parts of the country. Ever since the company officially introduced the service in 2018, they have been very much focused on expanding Home internet to as many parts of Kenya as possible.