A message from the U.S. Department of Education:
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation, and students may be particularly vulnerable to this crime. Learn how to protect yourself and your future from identity theft by going to http://www.ed.gov/misused
Reducing The Risk of Theft
A thief's greatest risk is being "caught in the act", and the second greatest risk is being caught with the evidence. Because mass-produced assembly line appliances and products look identical, the police have no way of identifying them as stolen goods, leaving little grounds for incrimination. If an item has been inscribed with a driver's license number, however, the information can be entered into a computer and the owner can be identified. This knowledge alone may act as a major deterrent to a potential thief.
Many stolen items are re-sold for cash. Items that can be traced back to their original owners bring a lower black market price, making the thief's efforts less rewarding. "Clean", or unmarked goods are always preferred by burglars.
A Warning to Burglars
The Operation Identification stickers on windows and doors tell a burglar that you're determined to protect your belongings. If you've taken the time to mark your valuables, a burglar can assume that you have taken other security measures as well. To the burglar, this means increased risk.
How to Join In
Public safety can provide you with electric inscribers, window stickers, registration cards and instructions. Inscribers and scribing tools can also be purchased at most stores.
What To Mark
All items that might be attractive to a thief. Smaller items such as watches and photographic equipment can be neatly engraved by a jeweler without detracting from the cosmetic value.
Where To Mark
It is best to mark belongings in a prominent place where the marking will be both readily visible and difficult to cover or remove without the attempt being obvious.
Stereo components, television sets, radios and other electronic equipment can be prominently marked on the back of the chassis or case.
Engines and body parts of power driven equipment such as riding mowers and snowmobiles are frequently swapped to reduce the risk of identification. Mark both the engine and frame.
Keep an Inventory
Make a record of your belongings including descriptions, serial numbers and location of Operation Identification markings.
In Case of Loss or Theft
Every year, millions of dollars worth of recovered lost or stolen property is auctioned off by law enforcement agencies across the country. The problem: lack of identification. When unmarked stolen property is recovered outside the area in which the theft occurred, the chance of having it traced back to the owner is extremely small! Operation Identification allows state and national law enforcement computer networks to trace these goods in a matter of seconds.