Post-theft/loss Response & Recovery With Evernote

Last night, the kids left the garage open after sledding all afternoon and I failed to perform my usual rounds due to still being horrendously ill. At some point between 23:00 & 05:30, miscreants did a snatch & grab on some electronics and other items. Ugh. This was both a physical security failure and a risk management issue, but I’ll keep this post on-topic and expound on the other items at a later date.

The first thing I did after noticing something was amiss was to take an inventory of what was missing from both the vehicles and then the garage in general. Once I had that list, it was time to start making the calls to the police department and insurance company. If you’ve ever been a vitcim of such a loss, you know the one question that comes up almost immediately: “Do you have the serial #’s and approximate value of the items taken?”. Most people, unfortunatley, don’t.

While you do not necessarily need anything more than a file folder and some note paper (plus receipts), using a tool like Evernote can really help. You first need to create a folder called (something like) “Home Inventory”. Then, on or very near the date of acquisition do the following:

  • Take a picture of the object (television, GPS, camera, road bike, guitar, etc) and put it the Evernote home inventory folder as a new note with the title being the actual, full brand/product name. This is made even easier if you use a smart phone that has an Evernote app on it. Take more than one picture if you want to include more of the location it was ultimately placed in. I would also suggest having yourself or another owner be in one of the pictures.
  • Add to the note the actual date of purchase. It also helps to either take a picture of or scan the printed receipt or paste in the e-mail with the receipt (if purchased online).
  • Locate the serial number and manufacturer id number and put those in. It helps to take an actual picture of this information as well.
  • Include the room or other physical location of where the object was ultimately placed (this makes sense only if it’s a fixed-asset like a TV, stereo or car GPS).
  • If you have the technical know-how, make an MD5 hash of all attachments (pictures/scans) and include the MD5 sums in the entry. This validates the integrity of the stored information as best as possible
  • Do not forget to include any SD cards, docking stations, GPS mounts, cables, custom road bike wheelsets etc in your list. I would recommend associating them with the entry for the main object you are documenting
  • If you have any account, financial or other personal infomation (e.g. e-mail address, usernames, passwords) stored on the object – and even TV’s hold this type of data these days – document those as well and include any remediation steps or contact info (such as bank phone number)
  • If the object is something like a media center (e.g. Apple TV) or media hard drive, you will need to keep a separate inventory of the non-replaceable, paid content on it and include that in any loss document if you do not have backups

Now, when you do become the victim of such a crime or incur damage as a result of a fire/flood/etc, you have all the data any agency or company will need to document the loss. This information may also be useful to help law enforcement find the stolen objects (if a theft), especially if there are unique markings.

While this was not a fun experience, it did validate my time and effort building and maintaining this inventory and will hopefully be helpful to others, though I sincerely hope you never have to go through anything similar.

Cover image from Data-Driven Security
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3 Comments Post-theft/loss Response & Recovery With Evernote

  1. Eileen Conlon

    I am so sorry you had to go through that Bob, and that you’re not feeling well. I’ll have to go through an exercise like that here, we are scattered at best. Thanks for sharing and feel better soon!

  2. Pingback: Friday Summary: March 4, 2011 | Portable Digital Video Recorder

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