How to Recover a Stolen PS3

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The PlayStation 3 is an expensive piece of electronic equipment that is small enough to be easily transported and typically left unattended in a home, making it easy to grab during a break in. When a PS3 is stolen, as long as the police are given enough information about the unit, it may still be possible to recover it.

  • Locate the serial number and the MAC address of the PS3. Each PS3 has two numbers unique to each system. The serial number is printed on the back of each PS3 and the MAC address is used to designate the network communications equipment inside it. Without at least one of the numbers, it is difficult, if not impossible, to track and recover a stolen PS3. If the unit is stolen and you do not have a copy of the serial number, it can often be located on the original box or receipt. Some retailers keep computer records of purchases and may be able to reprint a receipt if needed. If the PS3 was registered with Sony, the serial number and MAC address will be on record. Contact Sony support to get a copy of the numbers.

  • File a police report. Without a police report, it will be impossible to initiate any form of tracking on the device. Provide the police investigator with the serial number and MAC address as well as any unique identifying marks that may be on the unit. The investigator will need to contact the Sony IT Security Department and have the MAC address of the PlayStation traced. If the PS3 signs into the PlayStation network at any time, there is a good chance it will be detected by Sony, who can then forward the information to the investigator.

  • Check with local pawn shops. Stolen electronics such as PS3s can sometimes end up at a pawn shop. Provide them with the serial number and any identifying marks. Physically check at the stores every so often to see if the device has shown up. If the device was pawned and is found at a pawn shop, the shop may not be legally obligated to hand it over free of charge. Refer to local laws for the specifics regarding pawn shops surrendering property identified as stolen.

Tips & Warnings

  • The serial numbers from all valuable electronic devices, such as the PS3, should be written down and kept in a safe place. It is also a good idea to mark the PS3 in a unique way that can help physically identify the unit in case the serial number is destroyed. Etching the last four digits of your social security number in an obscure location on the case is a good way to mark the device.
  • If you have ever made a purchase on the PlayStation network using a credit card, there is a good chance that the card information is still located on the machine. This should be treated as seriously as if the physical card was stolen. Contact your credit card company and report that the account number has been compromised.

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