Have you bought a "genuine" Apple mobile accessory on Amazon, such as a charging cable, wall plug or ear buds? You might not have gotten the product you were hoping for. A new lawsuit obtained by Patently Apple alleges that New York-based Mobile Star LLC manufactured fake Apple accessories and then sold to Amazon as the genuine article.

The lawsuit resulted from Apple's routine policing of online products sold under its brand. Over the past nine months, the suit says, Apple purchased more than 100 iPhone and Apple accessories delivered through the "Fulfillment by Amazon" program. Amazingly (and depressingly) about 90 percent of the items it tested turned out to be fakes.

It gets worse. Apple says the products are designed with inadequate insulation or may have inadequate space between high-voltage and low-voltage components. As a result, the lawsuit says, "These counterfeits have the potential to overheat, catch fire, and deliver a deadly electric shock to consumers while in normal use."

'Literally caught on fire.'

Hyperbole intended to impress the court and lead to a higher judgment against the offender? It would be comforting to think that, but no. Apple included in its suit a screenshot of a verified purchase that begins: "After just a few hours of use on the very first day, the charger literally caught on fire!!!" In case anyone might think that was an exaggeration, the reviewer posted an image of the blackened item.

Apple claimed in its suit that it had contacted Mobile Star and that the company would not cooperate in resolving the issue. Not only that, "an Apple investigator recently purchased counterfeit Apple EarPods headphones and Lightning cables directly from Mobile Star, showing that Mobile Star is brazenly continuing to sell counterfeit Apple products even after learning that Apple was on to it," the suit alleges.

By way of damages, Apple is asking the court for $150,000 for each copyright infringement, plus $2 million for each counterfeit mark sold by defendent. The suit says these are statutory amounts, but also asks for treble damages. With perhaps half a dozen or more "Apple" products being sold by Mobile Star, damages could easily run into the tens of millions. I've reached out to Mobile Star for comment and will update this column if they respond. The company's website offers almost no information about the company or any of its executives. For instance, the "About Us" page simply says "About Mobile Star..." and nothing more, and the "Privacy Policy" simply links back to the "About Us" page.

Should you fear your accessories?

Meantime, what's a consumer to do? If you bought "Apple" accessories on Amazon, it's probably smart to treat them with some caution. Mobile Star products are no longer for sale on Amazon, which has suspended the company's selling privileges. The suit alleges that the company has also sold fake "Apple" products via Groupon--no word on whether Groupon has removed them or not. And of course Mobile Star is most likely selling its products through other online retailers as well.

I hate to suggest that you only buy Apple products at either a big-box store, an Apple store, or the Apple website. But for now, that seems like the safest approach.