Marking Your Property: Could you identify your property if it was stolen?
Could you identify your property if it was stolen? If your answer is No, you are not alone...
No one is immune to theft. If you are looking for yet another way to protect your valuables, try marking your property so that your valuables can be easily traced and identified in the event they are lost, stolen or strayed. Chances of recovering your personal property improve if your items are marked. Furthermore, marked property discourages theft. Most items are stolen for resale. As a result, marked items are less desirable to thieves since they are difficult to sell or pawn especially without proper proof of ownership.
5 Steps to Marking Your Valuables:
Anything a thief could carry away - cameras, TVs, DVD players, computers, iPods, and other valuables should be marked. Keep in mind, any valuable items you do not want to mark (e.g., silver, collectables, antiques, etc.) should be photographed or videotaped.
1 | Select a property marking tool. Select an engraving tool or a ultra-violet (UV) invisible ink pen to mark your property.
- I like the Invis-ID Complete Starter Kit by Conceptek - an easy way to mark your property with an invisible mark so that your valuables can be easily traced and identified only under UV lighting. Invis-ID Starter kit includes the following items: invisible ink marker pen, UV-LED flashlight, extra set of batteries, storage case, door/window warning decals and operation instructions. At the time of this writing, Invis-ID starter kit costs $24.95 and a replacement pen is available for $5.95.
- You can also purchase an invisible pen from an online outlet or from many hardware stores at a reasonably low price.
- Also, another option is to check with your local police department to see if there is an Operation Identification Program (a nationally recognized theft prevention program) in your area. Some local police departments (or Neighborhood Watch) allow you to check out an engraver or marking pen at no cost.
2 | Mark all your valuable items.
- Many Operation Identification Programs recommend that you mark the main body of the item with your state abbreviation followed by your driver's license number (e.g., DE123456).
- Another option is to use your last name followed by your postal zip code or the nine-digit extended zip code (e.g., Stevenson198072302) to avoid giving out any private information.
- If you plan to participate in a local Operation Identification Program, check out the program guidelines on marking property first.
- Otherwise, figure out what works best for you. Whatever you decide, avoid using your Social Security number - not recommended, especially with identity theft on the rise.
- Keep in mind: the mark should be visible without dismantling the item and in a location that cannot be removed. Now, some valuables like fine jewelry, silverware, paintings, collectables, antiques, furs and stamp/coin collections should not be marked - don't want to potentially reduce their value. Instead, these items should be photographed or videotaped with a ruler beside them to demonstrate size. Of course, you also want to include these items on your inventory list.
3 | Inventory marked items. Record a complete description, serial number and value of each item. You may also want to photograph and/or video tape all of your valuables. Keep your list in a safe place - more about this on my next post "Home Inventory: How to Organize, Document and Protect Your Valuables."
4 | Display decal stickers on windows & doors of home. These stickers are good psychological deterrents to discourage crime.
5 | Keep it up. Mark and update your list as you add or purchase new items.
Remember, report lost or stolen property immediately and provide all information as to markings, descriptions, serial numbers, photos, etc. Of course, you should have insurance and if you want to take it up a notch, organize, document & protect all your valuables with a complete home inventory.
Content: Copyright ®2008-2010 Letitia A. Stevenson.
Photo Credit: Copyright ®2005 Conceptek, LLC. All rights reserved.
Letitia Stevenson, REALTOR® | Licensed in DE, PA & MD |
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®
(Formerly Prudential Fox & Roach, REALTORS®)
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