What to do if your Laptop is Stolen

February 22nd, 2012 - Category - Devices

The problem with carrying around an expensive, portable piece of equipment is that it’s possible for someone to pick it up and run with it. According to LoJack, a security firm that focuses on stolen property, two million laptops are stolen each year. What should you do if you are a victim of laptop theft?

Your laptop is likely more than just an expensive investment in hardware. It can store plenty of data, passwords, credit card information, and much more, and a person doesn’t have to be very savvy to crack into your user account and gain access to everything.

There are plenty of proactive measures you can take to calm the stress of laptop theft and even help you retrieve your stolen laptop, but let’s assume that you haven’t done this. What should you in the event of a stolen (or lost) laptop?

Let’s think of a worst case scenario, where the thief doesn’t just wipe your data and attempt to sell the laptop. In this case, yes, you just lost your investment but you can go to the store and pay money to get it back. In a worst case scenario the thief will hunt around for any juicy data that they can find, such as credit cards, passwords, bank accounts, company documents, and the like. As mentioned, password protecting your user account doesn’t do you very much good for a savvy thief.

Tighten Security

Go through your accounts, starting with your email, and change your passwords. Don’t reuse a password – create a new one with letters, numbers, and a symbol or two whenever possible. You will want to do this quickly before the thief has a chance to change them first. Once you change your email password, change passwords on your bank accounts, paypal, social networking sites, ecommerce sites, and anywhere else you can think of. If you’ve surfed to it before on your stolen laptop, the thief will find it. Don’t forget accounts like instant messengers and other services.

Contact Authorities

File a police report. If possible, give the authorities your laptop’s model and serial number. If your laptop hasn’t been stolen yet, it’s suggested that you jot it down right now. You can file a report with your computer manufacturer, especially if the thief didn’t get a power cable to charge it with – they may try to go straight to the manufacturer. You can also check pawn shops and online sites like Craigslist and eBay for laptops that match yours. It’s worth a shot to see if the thief simply tried selling it immediately.

Monitor your Money

You will want to put either a fraud alert or a credit freeze on your credit cards. If you bought anything on your laptop your credit card information is likely stored, and even if you know you haven’t used your credit card on your laptop, it is still better to be safe than sorry. There are credit monitoring services that will help you keep track of fraud as well – check with your bank or credit card company for reporting and monitoring services. Be sure to change your pin numbers associated with your bank accounts as well. You may even want to contact companies you do business with to flag and monitor your accounts.

Be Prepared

There are plenty of things you can do to protect your laptop and proactively safeguard yourself in the event of your laptop getting stolen. If you own a laptop, now is the time to take the necessary precautions so that if it is lost or stolen you can retrieve it or at the very least protect your identity. Give us a call at 020 7101 0544 to find out what you can do to prevent identity theft.

Unfortunately cell phone service providers are discovering that smartphone users love their bandwidth. With the majority of carriers dropping unlimited data plans, when a user goes over their limit massive charges can apply. Let’s cover a few tips to limit the amount of bandwidth you use on your smartphone.  Big carriers like Verizon and AT&T have dropped their unlimited data plans, but have allowed existing customers to stay grandfathered in. However, in some cases these “unlimited” plans are being throttled heavily to sway users into paying for the much pricier limited packages.  Fortunately, iPhone and Android users have an easy way to keep track of the amount of data they are chewing up so they can change their habits accordingly to not go over their limits and get hit by extra fees.  For Android users, check out My Data Manager Free on the Android market. My Data Manager runs in the background on your smartphone and keeps track of the apps that require data. You can get plenty of nice charts depicting which apps are hogging the most bandwidth. You can even enter in your data plan limits and My Data Manager will start to alert you when you get close to reaching your monthly capacity. My Data Manager is free, however, there is a $4 premium version that removes the ads from the bottom of the application.  For iPhone users, you can find DataMan Free on the iTunes app store. This simple, precise app will track the amount of data used with your 3g connection as well as your Wi-Fi, and will give you usage alerts based on a monthly allowance you can set up in the app. The free version of DataMan isn’t very robust but it gets the job done, but for £1.99 you get much more detailed reporting and a view that displays a map showing where you’ve used the most data.  These simple apps can save you a lot of annoying overage fees and some data plan customers have even used them to dispute bills that were higher than they should have been. It’s always nice when a couple of pounds can save you hundreds in the long term.  Looking for more solutions for improving your mobile technology to make it work for you and your business? Contact Netstar at 020 7101 0544 to take advantage of your mobile devices.

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About Mit Patel

Mit - Managing Director. In 2002, Mit founded Netstar. He has helped grow Netstar to become an indispensable partner to some of London’s finest businesses, including well known names in the Financial Services industry. Mit works across all aspects of the business including strategic planning and key account management. Mit is focused on ensuring the delivery of a high quality service, and providing strategic value to help our customers overcome their business challenges.