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Finders keepers?

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Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! This week I’m here to give you a little bit of your sanity back. No, really, I mean it. If you’re like me you tend to forget things. It used to be everything: names, addresses, calendar events and where I would put things. Thanks to things like Google synced contacts, my smartphone and tablet, I have been doing much better with those first three items. However, if I ever misplaced my phone, or it was stolen, my organization would start to fall apart in a hurry. If I don’t have my phone with me I start to panic and there is always the risk that someone may mistake it for their phone, or simply take it. In a worst case scenario like that I would just be plain out of luck. Sure my contacts and calendar are backed up, but there’s so much more on my phone — it’s customized the way I like it, it has my photos and video on it, and those can’t be replaced.

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Up until now you could use apps to a certain extent to track your device if it went missing but ultimately it came down to you relying on whomever found your device being good natured enough to contact you and return it. Now, with Minnesota Nice and all, we are pretty lucky, but it was still a longshot. Well, worry no longer as there is a better option for all of us.

Minneapolis-based Finder Codes (www.findercodes.com) has come up with a great solution that gives you the option to offer further incentive for someone to return your property. They have created a system that comprises of stickers and tags that utilize QR Codes to “tag” your personal property and loads it into a database that you can access via web and mobile app to track your items.

Here’s how it works. You take the tag from your Finder Codes kit and scan it with your smartphone, this helps uniquely identify each tag and you can label it as such — i.e., “Phil’s Luggage.” Once you’ve scanned the tag you attach it to your property. Depending on which kit you get there are tags on stickers, hard plastic tags, iron on patches and smaller keychain size tags. You can then access your tag in the database and can change the status from active to lost if it goes missing. If you tag something as missing it will put the system on alert and if your tag is scanned it will send an SMS message and/or email to you and a backup person as well. The program also gives you the option to offer a reward to the finder that will display when they scan the tag.

If you’re the person finding the item you will see a bright orange sticker that has the QR code in it. It will also give instructions on how to scan the code and how you can contact the owner. It will also display the reward, if any, so you will know up front that there is a good reason to contact them. Finder Codes also gives the owner the option to set up a predetermined return shipping option. This means that if their device is found the finder can drop it off at a FedEx location and they will handle the shipping at no cost to the person who found it. Talk about simple!

One thing I really like about these tags is that they come in kits designed for different “genres” of our lives, not just a limited set of tags that you hope you can work into your daily routine. They have kits, with different styles of tags, for Home, Kids, Travel, Electronics and Pets, to name a few. Each kit contains enough tags to cover a good amount of stuff and often there are multiples of each size so you aren’t forced to use a tag that is too large for your item.

Wait, but what if the person who finds your stuff doesn’t have a QR code scanner? No problem! The Finder Codes each also have a unique alphanumerical code that is right under the QR Code. The person can go to the Finder Codes website and enter that letter string and they will get the same return information as someone who scans the item with a phone.

Each kit ranges in price from $24.99-$29.99 and can be ordered right from the website. Many of us, myself included, have extra insurance on our smart devices and this is a very inexpensive way to get a little added security for our expensive devices. Once you get your kit you just set up your account and identify your tags and you are set to go. You can also order more tags and track them all under the one account.

Of course, as soon as we got our hands on them we had to try them out. They worked like a charm. Set up was easy, simple and straightforward. The codes worked well on both Android and iOS, as they should, but would also be compatible with any smartphone that can run a QR scanner app. Both the app and the website were easy to navigate and set up our codes. We have one currently on a pet dog, and while we hope good ol’ Ollie doesn’t get lost, we’re confident that if he does he can be tracked now. I also have a trip coming up in late July and will be putting these to the travel test so you can expect an update upon my return.

All in all, Finder Codes are really awesome and the system behind the tags is pretty solid, too. For a relatively small investment you can get a little added security for your expensive devices. They are easy to use, easy to share and basically a foolproof product to help you keep tabs on your stuff. You can check them out online and they can be found at some retailers. If you are concerned with the possibility of losing your devices, definitely give Finder Codes a try.

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