Every device has a unique serial number on the box or back of the phone which is used to identify and distinguish it from all others of the same make and model, but should it be kept private?
Serial numbers aren’t just limited to phone’s, they can be found on various gadgets like a mouse, keyboard, laptop and others.
They are a combination of alphabets and numerals that somewhat look like ‘RZ8130…’ or ‘YN441#…’. You will find your device’s serial number prefixed with ‘S/N’ in many cases.
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You’ll find the Serial number on a label on the device box, back panel of the device and inside the ‘Status’ of the ‘About device’ menu under settings.
But is it safe to share the information? Can someone gain access to your phone using the serial number, hack it or harm you or your device otherwise?
The answer is mostly no. While a serial number can not be used to access your device or harm it, it can surely be used in other ways which might cause harm to you in the long run.
Is it Safe to Share Serial Numbers?
Now if serial numbers could potentially cause privacy issues for the user, then they won’t have been displayed so clearly on the box as well as the device — lest people would just stroll over an electronic store to record a few serial numbers.
Serial numbers are mostly used when a device ends up in the service centre for repair or replacement. Manufacturers use them to ascertain the authenticity of the said device and also check whether they’re in the warranty period or not as well as previous service records.
Chances of this actually happening are very low, but in case someone gets their hand on your serial number, they can falsely push for a part request or replacement of the device.
While sharing your serial number with company executives who will help you repair or replace the device is completely fine, one should abstain from sharing any such information on social media channels.
It is all the more important for you to not make such unique identifiers of your device public because in case a manufacturer’s policies are flexible and generous, it can result in a fraudulent repair or replacement.
“It is never a good idea to post a serial number of any product online. Model type and serial numbers of systems that are still in warranty could be misappropriated and used to fraudulently order parts or file warranty claims,” a Lenovo representative said.
Not very likely, but entirely possible that someone ends up using your serial number to misuse the warranty policy in case the manufacturer is generous enough to not ask for additional information before sending out a spare part or a complete replacement.
Now in case you break your device sometime in the future and a replacement has already been ordered using your serial number, then you’ll have another issue at your hands.
As is said, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and so you should avoid posting image or text of your serial number online on social networks or public forums.