1. UL® number and hologram: None, fake, or illegitimate. If there is no UL® number or hologram, that’s an instant tip-off. Even if there is a number or hologram, you can look up the cable on-line at UL® to see if it’s verified. Sometimes, even if there is a legit UL® number, it’s possible that it was copied from “good” cable. UL also posts alerts on unauthorized numbers on its website.
2. ETL logos. Counterfeiters use them whether they are earned or not. Ask the seller for the ETL test results. You can also check the ETL website for a directory of verified cables.
3. Printing/Legend. Is the printing poorly done on the box and the cable? Are there any typographical or grammatical errors? Check the UL® logo. It should have the letters UL arranged diagonally (descending left to right) with a circle with a small ® symbol directly below the U. Does the cable legend also have the proper markings?
4. Color. Does the color match previously bought cable?
5. Jacket/construction. Does the cable look like previously purchased cable? Are the conductors straight or oddly “twisty?” Does the jacket feel like a riser or plenum cable?
6. Weight. If the cable box/spool feels light, compare its weight to cable you know performs up to standard. Counterfeit cable and substandard cable often have undersized copper conductors or copper-clad aluminum conductors that weigh half as much as genuine cable.