Saturday, July 4, 2009

Computerization demands extra verification

Computers have crept into every nook and corner of our life. It comes at an expense. Extra verification might actually help deal with it well.

For my 24th birthday, my girl friend gifted me an audio (radio, stereo) player for my car. I was really happy with it. Not even 2 months, it got stolen when I parked it right next to my Department in the amazing city of West Lafayette. I thought it would be sensible to report the same to the cops and did so. The cop asks me to give him the serial number of the player and so I do.

Next day, I wake up with a call from the same cop. Apparently, my player was already reported stolen. They didn't put it that way but the cops suspected me of theft from the "actual owner" of the player. It is only after confirmation from BestBuy did they let me go.

I felt we rely a little too much on the reports that are filed electronically. I strongly recommend extra verification in these cases. I suspect some guy has lost his car stereo player and the serial number got distorted either at source or at entry. A little verification as to whether he has already bought it would have not put me in a spot. And in case, it really happens, they would have had a way to track down how it got back onto the shelves of BestBuy.