“ Internet Site / Online personal property register „
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Ok, so I'm not saying that this website is offering some amazing five-year extended warranty for free; no, merely a reasonable alternative for if you're not willing to pay for exactly that - or indeed, if you are.
Immobilise claims to be 'the world's largest free register of possession ownership details'. 'What would I need this for then?', you're asking yourselves - or rather, you're asking me. Well, Immobilise works with the police's NMPR and CheckMEND to form what it states to be a 'very effective tool in helping to reduce crime and repatriate recovered personal property to its rightful owners'. Basically, if something of yours that is registered on this website were to be stolen, the above team will do their best to recover it for you. They do this by working also with the Police national property database, the NMPR. Now, this online checking service is then used by all police forces across the UK in an effort to trace owners of lost or stolen property.
That sounds all very well and good I suppose, but anyone can claim anything these days, so it's about time for some statistics. Immobilise claim the following:
'As a direct result of Immobilise there are over 250 cases a week where property is returned or information collected that assists the Police in investigating criminal activity involving stolen goods.'
That's quite a good return. Now for my final piece of reassurance about this unknown company, being just that, it is a rather unknown company. How can you know that your personal property details are safe and in the right hands? Is this in fact just a genius way for thieves to build up their shopping lists? Certainly not. Whilst the service has been online for six years, the fact that it is completely free means little money be put forward into advertising. The fact of the matter remains however, it's a great free service, one that should certainly be taken advantage of.
If you've come this far and are still interested then you'll want to know about registering. It's a simple process, if you've managed to sign up to this website then I'm sure you'll manage, only obstacle is a security code (captcha), which is nothing to be afraid of.
Once you're in, it really doesn't get any harder, and you can go straight into creating your own personal property portfolio. Registering items is simple (it's a bit like making a Facebook account for your property...), but you have to make sure you put sufficient details in, otherwise it'll be pointless all together.
The item 'profile' page is split into four sections, the first being 'item type', such as camera, computer, mobile etc (I'm going to use mobile as an example, it is a perfect example after all). You then have 'item detail', and this is where you have to be specific and detailed. You give a make and model, date of purchase and cost, and finally the all important 'description markings'. In this field is where you describe that corner of your phone which is now many corners because of the time you dropped it down two flights of stairs but it lived to tell the tale.
The third section is 'identifiers'. These identifiers will vary depending on the item you're registering, but as with the entire process Immobilise helps you along the way, and will suggest various identifiers for you to use. For identifiers you're looking for things such as a unique serial number (unique to your product and make, not one that comes on every one that is sold). A good one for a mobile phone is the IMEI number, which can usually be found under the battery or by typing '*#06#' into your handset. Finally there is an images section, which is where you can add images of your item or a scanned till receipt, for example.
The process is done. Now just repeat it for all your other cherished items! As well as the items section there is also a profile area, which is also an important part of the process in tracking you down should you lose an item. If you do lose an item then it's a simple case of selecting the item and choosing either 'report stolen' or 'report loss'.
There's a good deal of other useful information which can be found on the website, as well as a products section which includes various products which can be used as well as your portfolio.
Overall, it's a superb website, and I think a really great idea from the makers. It makes the job for police forces much easier, and also tackles the sale of stolen property. I don't see how there could be any negatives to using this website - I think it's definitely one that needs to be taken advantage of.