The last defense in reclaiming stolen valuables from holiday thieves

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Each year–items from TVs to tractors, computers to hunting rifles–are stolen and never recovered. Now, digital technology has given property owners a way to get their items back.

Serial numbers. They’re everywhere and just about on everything.

“It’s the only way to tell the difference between your piece of equipment and someone else’s,” said Gregg Johnson, owner of Game Trade in De Pere.

And no business is more well-versed in these codes than pawn shops.
They help prove a purchased item is the same item being returned.
And it goes deeper.

“Also for fraud purposes in case an item is stolen, then we can help recover that item by having it in the system to what serial number was sold when,” he said.

Serial numbers ring up on every receipt, so you don’t have to look too hard for a solution.

“Keep your receipts first and foremost,” said Johnson. “But if you don’t, it’s OK to have a log of all your serial numbers for your equipment, also, in maybe a different computer file or just a hard-written on a piece of notepad paper.”

And that applies to really any valuable you own.

“Even your television, your video game consoles, your iPhone–any devices like that,” he said.

The serial number is your one sure-fire ticket to proving what’s yours is yours.

“Anyone calling to ask you this information–if someone would message you or send you an email saying, ‘We need your serial number,’ for any reason, you want to say no,” said Johnson.

So, when you’re grabbing your gifts, make sure you follow these tips and you’ll save yourself from a game over.

Green Bay police have a website to log your valuables ahead of the holidays here.

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