A mother of two has died in Australia thanks to a $4.95 phone charger. Authorities say Sheryl Anne Aldeguer, 28, was talking on the phone, plugged into a cheap charger that failed to meet Australian safety rules, when she was electrocuted with 240 volts and died instantly. The Filipino national was found dead in her apartment a day later in April, wearing headphones, with burns on her ears and chest. Her family had not yet joined her in Australia. "The voltage seems to travel up through the faulty charger into her phone," a rep for the Department of Fair Trading in New South Wales tells the Sydney Morning Herald, noting Aldeguer's earphones were attached to a laptop, which was plugged in to the same power outlet on the wall.
The Daily Mail adds Aldeguer was talking to a friend at the time, and the cord's lousy shielding caused the voltage to pass into her body, then complete the circuit by traveling through her headphones into her laptop and back into the wall outlet. Police are now warning consumers about the dangers of knock-off USB-style chargers, calling Aldeguer's death a "wake-up call," RT reports. Meanwhile, Fair Trading officers raided the mobile accessory outlet that sold Aldeguer the charger last week. "All the products have been removed. We went out there as soon as possible when we were notified," the rep said; the commissioner notes that many items seized were not compliant with Australian safety standards. The owners of the outlet could face fines up to $875,000, plus a two-year custodial sentence, he adds. (Read more mobile phones stories.)