Mobile devices have one unavoidable flaw – because they’re portable they are easily stolen. Someone can just pick it and run away. LoJack, a security firm with a special focus on stolen goods, estimates that every year two million laptops are stolen. If it happens to you, what should you do?
Laptops aren’t just expensive bits of equipment. Your device will probably also have a great deal of important data stored on it: passwords, financial information and much more. Criminals who indulge in laptop theft don’t have to be tech wizards to get past your security measures, access your user account and use your personal data.
The good news is that there are things you can do if laptop theft impacts you. It won’t make up for the inconvenience but it could help reduce the stress of losing your laptop, prevent identity theft and even help you to locate and retrieve it. Here’s what you need to know.
Here’s a worst case scenario. The thief doesn’t just wipe your data and sell your laptop for a quick buck. When that happens you’re out of pocket because you have to buy a new one. But some determined thieves will make the most of it, excavating your device for any information that might be useful for their life of crime. Don’t think the password you use to get into your device is an obstacle for a clever criminal.
As soon as you possibly can, attend to your accounts. Email and bank accounts are the ones to start with and step one is to change your passwords. Create entirely new ones, instead of recycling old ones. For added security make sure it includes letters, numbers and symbols. The quicker you can do this the better. Then go on to yout other accounts, such as Paypal, social networking sites, online stores and everything else you’ve signed up to. Don’t forget other services, like video streaming sites and instant messengers.
Don’t roll over and shrug it off as bad luck – file a police report, providing the model and serial number of the laptop. (If you’ve never thought about noting your laptop information, do it asap.) You can also notify the manufacturer, because if the thieves don’t have a cable to charge it up then they may just try to get one from the maker. It’s also worth checking online sites like Craigslist and eBay, which is where criminals may try to sell it, and even local pawn shops. You may not get lucky but it’s worth a try.
If you’ve ever bought anything online using your laptop there’s a good chance your credit card information is stored on the device. If you’re not sure then take measures anyway to be on the safe side. You can also sign up for credit monitoring services that will help you see if your cards are being used fraudulently. Ask your bank or credit card company for information on the services that are available. You can also alert companies you deal with regularly so they’re aware of possible problems with your cards being used by criminals.
Don’t think it will never happen to you. Be proactive about protecting your device and take precautions to safeguard yourself against laptop theft. If it’s stolen – or even just lost – you’ll be prepared so that you can try to track it down and protect your identity and personal information. To find out more about what you can do to prevent identity theft, give Quikteks a call at (973) 882-4644.