Contrary to public perception, the pawn shop industry is heavily regulated, covered by 15 federal statutes and regulations. State-issued identification and thumbprints are required for every loan or purchase.

Pawn shops are required by law to report everything acquired for each day. Jewelry stores, coin shops, flea markets, and Craigslist, for example, are not required to do that. At least if something is taken from you and it ends up in a pawn shop, you have an opportunity to get it back.