Having a laptop stolen is not only inconvenient and expensive, it can mean a costly security breach for your personal information. In addition to losing an expensive computer that you may rely on in your daily life, you may also have to deal with the fact that someone could easily access the private information you may have stored on it.
Identity theft is a major problem in the 21st century thanks in part to the prominence of computers in people’s daily lives. For better or worse, people keep their entire identities on their computers. This includes bank account info, social security numbers, and contact lists, all of which can be used by an identity thief to cause some serious problems.
Having your laptop stolen could be a serious problem, but there are things you can do to protect yourself. Some steps involve taking measures to prevent access to your laptop, while others involve taking steps to recovering your laptop and stopping a would-be identity thief from accessing your information.
Preparation is Important
If you have a laptop, consider taking steps to prevent any kind of theft in the first place. Keep your laptop with you and accounted for as often as possible if you take it outside of your home, and keep it secured with a laptop lock if you have to leave it unattended for any length of time. Try not to store any sensitive information on your laptop’s hard drive if you can help it. It may be useful to look into purchasing a kensington laptop lock through kensington.com.
If you must store information such as bank account numbers of tax information, keep it stored in a portable hard drive that you keep at home in a safe place. You can also use such a hard drive to back up all the information you might want just in case something happens with your machine.
Another useful thing you can do to protect yourself from theft is to use laptop tracking software. This can track your laptop via IP address if it is used to log onto the Internet. Meanwhile, the software company’s recovery team works with the local police to help you recover your stolen laptop.
What to Do in Case of Theft
If your laptop does get stolen, don’t panic. Chances are good that the thief will wipe out the hard drive and sell the computer for parts. Hacking into a secured laptop is difficult and time-consuming, so many thieves won’t take the time to access your secured information.
However, you should also consider the worst-case scenario of the thief gaining access to your private information. To prevent this from happening, contact any providers of accounts that the thief might be able to access and let them know what happened.
Have your accounts closed or frozen until you can secure them again. Change any passwords for your social networks or other online services from another computer as soon as possible. If you use your laptop as part of your job, notify your employer about what happened so that their IT department can take precautionary measures against problems that the thief might cause, especially if you have confidential company information on your laptop.
Identity theft may or may not result from a stolen laptop, but it is a distinct possibility. As always, be mindful of your surroundings at all times, and be aware of how easily your belongings can be stolen if you aren’t careful.
About the Author: May
May is a technology buff and freelance writer – he likes to cover anything new and exciting within the industry; right now, he’s looking to review mobile apps, and help predict where they’ll be headed in the next few years.