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Evidence Chain of Custody Form

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If it is not practical to perform data collection from an electronic device (such as a laptop) on-site, the electronic device can be shipped to our computer forensic examiners in a secure manner. Follow the steps below to protect your evidence and maintain a proper chain-of-custody:

  1. Take time- and date-stamped photos of the device prior to shipping. The photos should capture the device’s serial number, as well as manufacturer name and model number (if easily identified on body of device), and any other identifying marks.
  2. The package should include a cover letter that describes the electronic device being shipped.
  3. In addition to a cover letter, a chain-of-custody form should be included in the package to ensure proper chronological documentation of the physical custody of the device, and to avoid any allegations of evidence tampering or spoliation of evidence.
    • The receipt and removal of any electronic device should be documented using a Chain of Custody form. The form should reference the date, name (and signature) of the person collecting the electronic device, the name (and signature) of the authorized person releasing the device, and the names (and signatures) of any persons associated with any subsequent transfer, analysis or control of the electronic device. A detailed description of the electronic device in question and any identifying information, such as a serial number, is also pertinent. For instructions on how to properly utilize our chain-of-custody form, contact our office.
  4. The shipment should be traceable and require the signatures of both the shipper and the receiver. Please contact our office and provide the carrier and the tracking number of the shipment to ensure proper delivery. We recommend utilizing overnight or Priority shipping to ensure special handling, and to expedite the chain-of-custody.
  5. COC The device should be packaged with a great deal of care so as to ensure its arrival in the same condition that it was when shipped. Remember, electronic devices are sensitive to static electricity discharge. Do not use packing material that can hold a static electricity charge, such as Styrofoam packing material. Instead, we recommend utilizing bubble wrap as packaging material. If you are shipping a hard drive, make sure that the drive is shipped in an anti-static bag--not a small box or envelope. Ensure that sufficient packaging material is used to protect the device. Contact us with questions about shipping specific devices and for further information on how to avoid damaging the device during shipping.
  6. It is imperative that you contact us prior to shipping to properly schedule delivery. This will ensure a proper chain-of-custody is maintained and that your package is received and signed for by a qualified professional.

Download the Chain of Custody using the form on the right.

Electronically stored data can easily be destroyed if the above steps are not carefully followed. For further information on how to avoid spoliation of forensic evidence, contact our office.

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