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Oh No, My Laptop is Stolen! Now What? Here are 4 Steps.

Picture this, you’re at the airport with your laptop, knocking out an important project between flights. Suddenly, you’re approached by some touristy-looking people about taking their picture. You’re a nice person so you grant them their request. After a longer-than-expected photo session, you return to your seat only to find that your laptop has been stolen. You’ve been conned.

What’s Your Next Move?
You may think that you’re too smart to fall for such a trap and that you’re immune to having your mobile device so brazenly taken from you. Do you know who else thought that they were immune to laptop theft? The two million people that have their laptop stolen annually! That’s a bleak statistic, and it get’s worse when you take into consideration cell phone theft. According to the Washington D.C. Police Department, nearly 40% of theft in major U.S. cities are attributed to smartphone theft. After you go through the five stages of loss and grief, how do you quickly and thoroughly resolve this issue and minimize the damage?

Change Passwords and Monitor Your Accounts
One of the first steps you’ll need to take is logging onto all of your various accounts associated with the stolen device and change your passwords. This will prevent the thief from having free reign to do what they want with your sensitive information. Don’t put off doing this because time is of the essence. It’s only a matter of time before the thief digs deep enough and discovers your login credentials. Also, this is a good time to advocate using complex and different passwords for each account. If you used one simple password for every account, then it would be a matter of minutes before a hacker would figure it out and ruin your digital life.

Get the Authorities on the Case
You will next want to report the stolen device to the authorities. Informing the police about the theft will help them with their investigation. Who knows? There’s always a chance that your device will show up and the thief will be brought to justice. Once the police have been given the make and model number, they will be able to watch for it in pawn shops and Craigslist. You can even do your own investigation and scour local second-hand stores and websites in hopes of reconnecting with your device.

Notify the Device Manufacturer
A situation like this is where registering your device pays off. For example, if the new owner of your device attempts to register it with the manufacturer, records will show that the stolen device has been located and they will be able to take appropriate action. Additionally, some mobile device carriers have a kill switch that they can enact that will remotely shut off service to the phone.

Damage Control with Your Clients
One unpleasant step that you may have to take is to notify any clients about the theft if the stolen computer had any of their information on it. Depending on where your business is located, reporting the breach to your clients may actually be required by law. Even if it isn’t required, it’s the right thing to do and your clients will appreciate your company’s honesty and openness. Although, they will probably be a little annoyed that the incident took place.

What You Can Do to Prevent Device Theft
SemTech IT Solutions can help equip your mobile technology with proactive security solutions that will save the day in the event of a theft. There are security apps that can be used to remote into the device, lock the thief out, and wipe the hard drive. Anti-theft applications are good, but the best way to protect yourself from device theft is to be ever watchful of your device. This means taking extra precautions that make it difficult for a thief to steal what’s yours. For example, thieves tend to operate by the “low-hanging fruit principle,” which means that, given the choice, they would prefer to snatch a laptop that’s left unattended at a public space than one that’s chained to the user’s ankle (an extreme-yet-effective precaution).

For more tips on how to prevent mobile device theft, call SemTech IT Solutions at 407-830-1434


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