Charging your gadget shouldn't be a risky proposition. But if you've bought a counterfeit charger, you're opening yourself up for all kinds of problems, including fires.
Fake iPad chargers are out there, too. It's pretty easy to guess that that charger you only paid $3 for is a fake. Apple sells theirs for $19.
But there's a lot to weigh besides price. Blogger Ken Shirriff points out some things to look for.
If you look here, the real charger (left) and the fake (right) look almost alike. You really have to scour them to see the difference. The counterfeit doesn't say "Designed by Apple in California," although some unscrupulous fake chargers might say that anyway.
The differences become more obvious when you crack them open.
The real charger, on the left, is full of components, packed tightly to give you all you paid for. Some components have yellow insulation tape, and the wires have additional insulation. The fake has none of this, and you can see all the extra space.
When flipped over, you can see that the iPad circuit board is much more complex than the counterfeit. Again, the counterfeit has a lot of empty space, while the Apple charger is crammed with components. Also, there is more insulation tape - red, this time - in the Apple charger. There's none in the fake.
There are more things to look for, so go read the entire blog post.
But you don't need to go that deep to figure it out. Buy your chargers only from authorized dealers - and in Apple's case, they're the only dealer for Apple.