Reasons to Keep Your Tech Serial Numbers Private

Dec 7, 2021

Computers, routers, smartphones, and more all carry serial numbers identifying that individual piece of equipment. When you flip a device over, you’ll likely see several numbers and often barcodes representing those same numbers. There will be a model number that denotes the type of equipment and is the same for every unit produced, and then the unique serial number often marked with an “S/N.”

These serial numbers are for a variety of purposes. For example, they identify your hardware if you ever need to claim a warranty. Serial numbers can also help determine if the hardware is legitimate or counterfeit. While you may have to share your serial number for warranty and tech support services, there are some reasons to keep them closely protected.

Watch Out for Fraudulent Warranty Claims

In general, you don’t have to be extremely careful with serial numbers in the same way you are with something like a credit card number. With that being said, you shouldn’t be readily sharing them every chance you get. Both the serial and model numbers potentially open you up to warranty fraud.

Basically, someone with both these numbers might be able to put in a fake warranty claim. They could order replacement parts under your warranty, potentially using it up if there are limits. It’s at the very least going to be a major issue when you call in for service, and someone else has claimed the warranty with a name and address other than yours.

The chances of someone digging through your trash for boxes to steal serial numbers are low. However, if you share serial numbers online, they can absolutely end up in the hands of the few people who engage in this kind of fraud. This is particularly true if you lost track of an internal list of serial numbers that could be used en masse.

Software Serial Numbers

Hardware isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. The software also has a kind of serial number, also called a license key. Basically, it’s a code that shows that you have the license to use that particular software. If someone gets a hold of this number before you can claim the license, they’ll be able to do so before you.

With both hardware and software, it’s best to claim licenses and warranties right away. If you don’t, you might find out someone fraudulently claimed your tech before you got around to it. It’s going to be an uphill battle to establish that you’re the rightful owner, and you could find yourself out of luck.

Maintaining Proper Data Security for Your Business

When it’s time to get rid of old devices in your office, you might not realize that they could hold records of hardware serial numbers and software licenses. Even after they’re wiped, experts could still be able to recover that data. SEAM provides hard drive wiping and shredding in South Dakota that meets the relevant NIST standards. We can ensure that nobody is stealing your data when you dispose of your old hardware.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.