Have you ever lost and/or had something expensive stolen? If you have, there’s a good chance that your item was never seen again, especially if the latter is what happened. Come the end of 2011 and as the economy continues to stagnate, many people are resorting to desperate means to get what they want and/or make a little money.
For any thief, a digital camera is a great target as it is both something that the thief would want for him/herself and is something with generally good resale value that could be unloaded on Craigslist, Ebay, or pawned off at a local pawn shop. This, added to the fact that many camera owners don’t know their camera’s serial number (do you?) make for a perfect item to steal.
Well, here’s a good reason to learn your camera’s serial number: two new services are on the market to help reunite lost/stolen cameras with their owners.
Camera Trace and Stolen Camera Finder work by the same general principle: look for your camera’s serial number in EXIF data from images taken by your lost/stolen camera that are posted online.
Camera Trace is more geared toward the lost side of things and anyone who sighs up can put a sticker on the designated camera that will provide a web address where a finder can contact you so that you can retrieve your camera. In addition, Camera trace will alert you to whenever an image from your camera is posted online, making it easier to protect your photos from theft.
On the other hand, Stolen Camera Finder is geared for theft recovery. Using the same basic method as Camera Trace, Stolen Camera Finder will search the web for EXIF data that includes your camera’s serial number, then plots locations on a global map.
Unfortunately, as good as these services are, they are not perfect as finding anything is based on the availability of being able to read EXIF data from photos posted online. Problem one: the thief may have no interest in posting pictures online. Problem two: some websites, most notably Facebook, strip/modify EXIF data, making it impossible for either program to track your camera through its pictures.
Still, for anyone looking to protect their gear, either service may be one worth considering.
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