Laptops are more than just a gadget to most users. More often than not laptops will contain passwords, addresses, banking and credit card numbers and personal information. If a laptop is stolen, it won’t take a smart thief long to break into the account and gain access to personal and important information.
According to LoJack, two million laptops are stolen each year and as computing devices get smaller that number will get bigger. While you may not always get your computer back, there are some steps you can take to decrease the damage done.
It sounds simple, but always be mindful of your computer. Don’t leave it on the table while you refill your coffee and don’t leave it unattended in your car or office. Most thieves commit crimes of opportunity, so don’t give them one.
Also, consider installing a theft protection feature. Lenovo offers ConstantSecure Remote Disable for their new ThinkPad tablet pc models. If your laptop is stolen you can send a text message to the laptop disabling it. The unit will power down completely and will not restart until a re-activation key is entered. While this won’t protect your hardware investment, it will protect your information from thieves interested in more than wiping the hard drive and selling your laptop.
You can also invest in recovery software. Companies like ComputraceComplete and PCPhoneHome can be purchased for $30 to 50 a year and offer you a chance at getting your laptop back. These companies connect your laptop periodically to a main server. When this happens the agency can tell you exactly where your laptop is and notify the police to recover it.
Once you realize your laptop is missing contact the police and file a report noting the model and serial number. Go through all your accounts and change passwords. Create new high protection passwords (containing numbers, letters and symbols) quickly, before the thief beats you to it and locks you out of your accounts.
Keep an eye on your bank accounts and let your bank and credit card companies know that your information may have been stolen so they can issue a fraud alert and monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.
Losing a laptop is hard but fighting identity theft is harder. Take the proper steps to protect yourself and your information. If the worse happens, stay calm and take the time to perform damage control. It may not give you back your laptop but it may give you a little piece of mind.