Data Dots are very small (100 times smaller than a dime) spots that you paint onto a small section of something you own. The dots are invisible except under UV light, and can be read with a regular magnifying glass.
You paint the dots onto your laptop or cell phone in a place where they won't easily rub away, such as inside the battery compartment. Your dots contain a unique numberic identifier, which you register online at the company's website.
Add a sticker that reads "protected by DataDots" and the police know that they are supposed to shine a black light over the stolen goods to find the dots then examine them under a magnifying glass. They go online -- the Web site is right on the dot -- and type in the number to get your contact information.
U.S. & World
Whether the protective step actually works or not is unclear because the company does not mention any success stories. Then again, it's a fairly new idea.
The sticker that says "protected by DataDots" may be as valuable as the dots themselves - after all, it's easier to discourage burglars than it is to foil them.
You can buy Data Dots for about $30.