Should I Worry About Serial Number Fraud?
Digital Darrell Blogs
© Darrell Young  

Some have asked, "Why is it not a good idea to post your camera or lens serial numbers in online chat rooms and forums." Here are a few ideas I can come up with as to why a person should think twice about doing it:

Scenario # 1:

That new digital camera that you claim to have purchased is actually MY camera that was stolen from me recently. I filled out a police report, and reported it to my insurance company. All my invoices and papers were stolen with the camera of course, but I was smart enough to write down the serial number in case anything happened to my camera. Now, I'm going to send the police over to your place to get MY camera. They'll arrest you for receiving stolen merchandise. What do you mean, that it is YOUR camera. How could it be, when I have the serial number right here on my police report?

Scenario # 2:

What do you mean that the manufacturer won't repair your camera under warranty since the serial number is registered to me. Your address clearly doesn't match the number in their database, since I registered your camera before you did.

Scenario # 3:

I sure am enjoying that $50.00 rebate I got from the manufacturer today. I know it really should have been yours, but, since I registered your serial number under MY address, I get the rebate!

Scenario # 4:

I really don't like you. I have e-mailed your serial number to hundreds of agencies whereby you report stolen equipment. If you EVER take that camera in for repair anywhere, or try to sell it, you may just find the police looking for you!

Scenario # 5:

We are recalling all SuperFlex SLR cameras with serial numbers between xxxxx and yyyyy, due to danger of explosion. Our records indicate that you have serial number xxxyyy. Please send your camera in immediately to (address). We will send you a new SuperFlex within 7 business days from the receipt of your current camera body. If you fail to send in your camera, your warranty is voided.


Don't believe any of the above are of concern? Well, to test whether serial number fraud exists, simply do this. Create a web page listing your serial numbers and then just wait.

Probably nothing will ever happen. It is most likely that over the stream of time you won't have any problems. And, it is also quite likely that you won't have a car wreck on the way to work today, so why drive conservatively? And, there is a strong probability that if you turn your three year old loose in a local shopping mall, everything will turn out well in the end, so let 'em shop. Why not? Well, because you want to be cautious with valuable things. Is a new DSLR camera not valuable enough to get a clever thief salivating? I think so. Isn't it really best to be cautious?

It may be a "paranoid" fear, but you have to admit that there are a LOT of people these days who make their living's thinking up ever more inventive ways to scam and steal your stuff, kids, identity, and even serial numbers. No one would ever think of handing out your credit card numbers to strangers, since that is a very strong risk of financial loss. Serial numbers are much lower risk, but still a risk which most are unwilling to take. I think we all suspect that there are a lot of clever people out there with greed enough to do what it takes to get your stuff.

Spoofing and phishing are both very common internet crimes these days. Both are ways of getting people to release valuable personal information by acting as though they're someone they're not. Scam city! I, personally, don't care to release private numbers of any type, and many others feel the same way. I doubt that most of us are really paranoid, only cautious in a somewhat dangerous world.

Maybe 1 in 100,000 people ever will experience serial number fraud, or maybe 1 in a million people. But that one person who does sure feels bad, suffers loss, and will never let anyone have his serial numbers again.

Me, neither!

Keep on capturing time...

Copyright © 2005 by Darrell Young, All Rights Reserved