Jun 02, 2022 by Team HiddenApp
Stolen Laptop: What To Do When Yours Goes Missing
Stolen Laptop: What To Do When Yours Goes Missing
Stolen laptop? Here are the key steps you should immediately take to protect your data and increase your chances of recovery.
If you have ever experienced that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize your laptop is not where you left it, you will know how worrying and frustrating it can be. In this fast-paced, technology-led world that we live in, our devices are an essential part of our day-to-day lives and have a vast amount of personal information stored on them. That means a missing laptop or stolen computer can have major consequences.
We know how distressing it can be, which is why we thought we would take a closer look at what to do when your laptop is stolen. When you find that your computer is missing, it is essential that you act swiftly to prevent criminals from gaining access to personal data and causing you more issues.
The worry and anxiety that comes from a missing laptop can make it very difficult to think clearly. So if you are wondering what to do if your laptop is stolen, this guide can help you quickly secure your personal data and minimize the financial impact it has.
Protect Your Personal Information
From social media to online banking, computers have become an essential part of our lives, which means they store a huge amount of personal data. That is why when you find your laptop is missing, you should act as swiftly as possible to protect your information.
With so much information stored on our electronic devices, many people take steps to prepare for this eventuality by encrypting their data, backing up their computers and regularly changing their passwords. However, this is not always enough to keep your personal information secure, so if you have found your computer has been stolen, here is what you should do:
1. Freeze your credit card
In recent years, eCommerce has enjoyed incredible growth, and in 2022 it is estimated that it will make up nearly 40% of all retail sales. This rise in popularity has seen many shoppers save their credit card details on their browsers to speed up the checkout process.
However, while this can be a great feature when shopping, when your laptop is stolen, it gives thieves the ability to quickly rack up major bills at your expense. That is why if your computer goes missing, the first thing that you should do is freeze your credit and debit cards. This will prevent the criminals from being able to purchase items using your details.
You should also notify your bank as soon as possible about the theft, making them aware that any transactions that might go through are fraudulent.
2. Sign out of all accounts
Once you have been able to freeze your credit cards, the next step is to make sure that you are signed out from all of your accounts. If you are looking to sign out of Google remotely, then you should visit this link to view all of the locations you are currently signed in at and sign out as needed.
This process is similar if you are looking to sign out of your Microsoft account remotely, your social media channels, or your Amazon account. To ensure thieves do not have access to any of your personal accounts, you should be as comprehensive with this process as possible, remembering everything from your email and banking accounts to your social media channels and TV subscriptions.
3. Change your passwords
When you are signed out of all of your personal accounts, the next step is to change passwords. When doing this, it is important not to use any of the passwords you have previously used just in case the thief has access to them. You should also enable 2fa (two-factor authentication) wherever possible to add an additional layer of protection.
Report a stolen laptop
With your personal information now secure, you can relax knowing that you should be safe from any further unwanted surprises. However, that is not the end of the process, and you should now report your stolen laptop.
Has your work laptop been stolen? Notify your employer ASAP
If it was your work laptop that has been stolen, then you should notify your employer as soon as possible. Many organizations will have stolen laptop procedure that needs to be followed to ensure that all company data remains secure.
Making sure that you follow your lost company laptop policy is crucial; otherwise, you might find yourself facing disciplinary procedures.
Report theft to the police
If it is your personal laptop, then you should file a police report as soon as possible. Reporting a stolen laptop to the police will not only help increase your chances of getting it returned, but it also makes them aware of how thieves are operating, potentially preventing others from facing the same fate.
Reporting a stolen laptop is very simple and can be done either by visiting your local police department, giving them a call, or filing a report online. However you do it, make sure that you make a note of your crime number.
Report theft to your insurer
Once you have been able to file your police theft report, you will then be able to file an insurance claim. In order to start the claim process, you will need to detail the make and model of the device and the circumstances of how you lost it. You will also need to submit your police theft report, which is why it is crucial that you complete this process first.
Report theft to the laptop manufacturer
Finally, you should also register the device as stolen to the laptop manufacturer. Although this is unlikely to help with recovery, every little bit helps. If you check the manufacturers’ website, they will usually have a helpline that will take you through the process of registering the device as lost.
This is an important step as should the thief try to contact technical support or file a warranty claim, it will be flagged, and the police will be notified.
Find my laptop
While it can seem like all is lost when your laptop is stolen, that is not always the case. The chances of being reunited with your device are much greater if you are using a find my laptop service or software like HiddenApp.
If you are looking to recover your laptop, then it is important to remember a few key points:
1. Location tracking
When it comes to finding your stolen laptop, the most important thing that you can do is use laptop tracking software. Certain manufacturers, such as Apple, also offer a ‘find my device’ option, allowing you to see the location of the laptop when it was last used.
Tracking your laptop location does require the device to be turned on, so it is important to bear in mind that it is not always reliable.
2. Stolen laptop recovery
If you have been able to locate your device, you might be tempted to rush over and confront the thief; however, this is a very risky thing to do. You do not know who you might be encountering, which could place you in danger.
That is why if you are planning on recovering a stolen laptop and have the location, you should contact law enforcement, quoting your crime number. This will allow them to investigate further and hopefully reunite you with your device.
3. Try contacting the device
On certain devices, it might be possible to send a message using the find my device functionality. This will appear as a message on the screen. This is an opportunity for you to provide contact information in case the device is found and even offer a reward if it is located.
However, it is always wise to exercise caution in this approach and arrange to meet the recipient in a public place, or better yet, get them to hand the device into a local police station.
4. Remote lock the device
If you are not able to locate the device and there has been no luck in your effort to contact the thief, then you might be able to remotely lock the device. This will remotely wipe all the data on the device, ensuring all of your information is removed and preventing any data breaches.
Prevention is better than cure
Losing your laptop or having your computer stolen can be an incredibly worrying time. For many of us, these devices are critical to our personal and professional lives, and they hold vast amounts of personal and sensitive data.
These steps can help you to keep that data safe should the worst happen. However, one of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to focus on laptop theft protection. To help you keep your device safe and secure, our next blog explores some of the best ways you can maximize your laptop protection from loss and theft.