Laptops have now become an integral part of our lives. They contain personal as well as official documents, and stuff that you do not want any stranger to see. Hence the biggest fear that laptop owner face is misplacing or losing his/her laptop. Well one cannot stop crimes and misfortunes but they can take precautionary measures to keep their laptops and the information stored in it safe and out of reach of exploiters.
We have come up with some tips and some precautions to keep your laptop safe.
1. Inform the Police
Well this is the first and the foremost thing that one should do in the case of theft. Most people think that police might not be able to find the stolen laptop, but this is not the case. While you inform the police and file a report of your missing laptop the police will get the word out that a laptop is missing. And even if the police are not able to find it, the laptop’s unique ID is entered into the national database and if the thief tries to sell, it will alert the police even if the he tries to do so in another country. If you live near a University or your laptop was stolen near the place, do inform the campus police and the private security firms about the theft.
2. Stay Connected to the Local Pawn Shops and Repairers
If there is a pawn or repair shop near the place of theft, you should consider telling them that your laptop has been stolen. In order for them to clearly identify your laptop, you must completely specify the details such as the serial numbers or any unique marks etc. so that the shopkeeper is able to identify your laptop. Most Pawn and repair shops are connected with the police and check before buying anything, so if you have informed the police it is good, but it will not hurt telling them either.
3. Contact Your Insurer
Many insurance companies cover lost computer hardware even if the laptop was stolen outside your residence. If the laptop was company provided, its loss will be covered in the company’s insurance policies. In case of theft, apart from doing the above mentioned steps you should also contact the insurer to see the possibilities of covering up your loss. While doing so you can file a claim so that you can cover your losses.
4. Spread the Word
Spread the word out and let your friends, co-workers and other people know that your laptop is missing. You can do so easily with the help of Facebook or Twitter or any other social networking websites that you use. You can also post about the loss on community classifieds such as Craigslist or any other local directories. You can also advertise in local newspapers and give reward to the one who brings back your stolen item. If the data stored in the laptop is very important and sensitive you can put a reward sum equal to the actual amount of the laptop. Spreading the word can also be done with the help of fliers or posters but it all depends on how badly you want your laptop back.
5. Always Remain Vigilant
Well if you become satisfied with your attempt after filing all the paperwork, then that is not going to help. You must always stay vigilant and active in your work by checking the lost and found ads on Craigslist, and also you must keep an eye on websites such as eBay and others to see if the thief is trying to sell your laptop through these websites. Keep an eye on local bulletin boards and the papers and keep yourself vigil and active all the time.
Precautions You Can Take to Prevent Theft
The above mentioned steps can help you protect your data and get your laptop back eventually. But why let your data and laptop get stolen in the first place? Following are the steps you can take to prevent your precious laptop and the information kept in it from theft.
1. Use Prey
Prey is a great monitoring application which one should always have if he/she aims to get the laptop back. This application connects to the Prey server or the server that you have entered. You can activate this application remotely when your laptop gets lost. When it is activated, it connects to the internet and sends and IP address, location (accompanied with a map) and a screenshot from the webcam. By using Prey you can also lock your computer hardware, so that others cannot access it.
2. Encrypt Your Personal Information
You should always encrypt personal information such as credit card information, medical as well as financial records. This is very important because your personal information can be used by thieves against you. Encryption of your data also ensures that any liability that you might face in regard of stolen information. You can encrypt your data with the help of numerous applications available. TrueCrypt is a great free application that is available to all Mac, Windows and Linux users.
3. Give Personal Information to the Finder
Personal Information such as contact numbers or address should be kept on the desktop as a file. In case your laptop has been found by somebody else, the person can easily get in touch with you and get your laptop back.
4. Back up Data
Every computer user should always backup his data frequently in case of a hardware failure or anything like that. But if you haven’t started yet may be theft will prove as an important factor in motivating you to do so. You can take advantage from services such as Dropbox or store the data on an external HDD. But using services such as Dropbox is a much better option if you carry the external drive in the laptop bag. Get your Dropbox account now.
5. Engraving Your Laptop Can Help
If you engrave your laptop with wordings such as your name or your company’s name or your e-mail address, it will help the finder of your laptop to identify the user. But there is a great downside to this utility — once you engrave any of your personal information on the laptop it will become really hard to sell it unless you replace the engraved portion.