Follow these steps when your laptop has been stolen. It doesn’t not matter if it was stolen from your car, the airport security line, or was physically wrenched from your hands in a grab-and-run or just disappeared.
If you are self-employed skip to File a police report.
If you work for a company, then call your IT department. They need to know as soon as possible so they can take care of issues on their end, such as encrypting or wiping the data on your hard drive, using tracking software that’s been installed, and notifying the manufacturer and stolen-computer databases. While you’re on the phone, get the computer’s serial number — you’ll need that. Also, you may need to contact your human resources department because your personal identity is involved as well.
File a Police report: Give them the serial number details of how the computer was stolen, get a case number for the insurance company and file a property report (the police usually supply one or fill it out with you)
Change your passwords. By scouring your emails and browsing history, criminals can discover a lot about you — where you work, bank, live they can also get your passwords. Don’t take chances now is the right time to start using a password manager, if you haven’t already. I like to use LastPass. (I don’t get paid or receive any benefits from LastPass, I just like the product)
Freeze your credit if you used the computer for financial transactions. Lock down your credit to prevent companies from running credit checks on you. This will prevent attempts by a thief to open bogus accounts in your name. Contact the three major credit bureaus directly: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Recover your data on your new laptop. You are backing up your laptop automatically or at least on a regular basis. Contact us if you need assistance with this.
How do you prevent laptop theft in the first place?
- Hide your laptop in your trunk or under your car seat if you have to leave it in your car
- Make sure that you do this before arriving at your destination
- People watch parking lots to spot laptops or valuable equipment being put into trunks of cars.
- When traveling make sure the laptop the last item you put on the airport security conveyor belt so it’s more likely you’ll be waiting for it instead of the other way around
- Do not walk away from your laptop even for a minute while in a public place.
- Backup your data and have a Disaster Recovery plan so you do not lose critical data permanently.