The importance of serial numbers - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

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The importance of serial numbers

By Gray Hall - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The Richmond Police Department is reminding people to write down their Electronic Serial numbers and keep them in a safe place. Investigators say this small step is well worth your time and effort.

"Anything electronic is easy to sell for criminals," said Lt. Daniel Minton.

He knows all too well that crooks are always looking for an easy target.

In the event your electronics are stolen -- he says writing down serial numbers can be a huge help. Not writing them down makes it difficult for investigators to track down your valuables.

"It greatly decreases. What we have in Richmond is a database with all the items that are turned into pawn shops so we can take a report and look at the particulars like the make the model and the serial number of what was taken and we could easily match that up," Minton said.

If you are not the type to keep up with important documents like serial numbers, and you don't want to etch your information on your electronics like some people do then police have a free tool that could make tracking your stolen items easier.

It's a free pen with invisible ink. It's easy, you write down your personal information on the item and -- if it's stolen police can use a special black light to scan the item and make sure the item in question is yours.

"What we ask the citizens to do is actually harden the target. What we mean by that is keep your doors locked, keep your laptops out of view from the public. We don't want you to leave any valuables in your car or in your home where people can see them if they are just walking by," said Minton.

Another layer of protection -- take pictures of your items along with the serial numbers. Police say taking a few minutes to jot down this important information is well worth the time if crooks target you.

"If you think about it, if you walk into your house and you close your eyes -- how well can you describe what's in your house, so until it happens you don't really think about it," added Minton.

Police say when you write down your serial numbers make sure to keep them in a secure location. They also say jotting the numbers down will help when filing an insurance claim.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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