What is to be done if your laptop is stolen?

by | Nov 23, 2022

It can be a terrible experience to have your laptop stolen. Someone else might potentially acquire access to your entire life, given everything we carry on our phones these days.

A laptop is stolen every 53 seconds, according to studies. The great majority, according to the Metropolitan Police, are stolen from pubs or public transportation. The best course of action is to try to prevent theft from occurring in the first place. When you’re out and about, keep your laptop visible or attach it to a table with a laptop lock. Theft does, however, occur. It simply takes a few seconds for someone to remove your laptop from you without your knowledge.

While using GPS or tracking devices to recover your laptop is a possibility, the best thing you can do is decrease the danger of subsequent loss and secure your identity and information contained on the device. When you realize your laptop is missing, take these steps right away.

1. Wipe Your Data

If you have little hope of regaining your computer, the most efficient technique to protect yourself from losing crucial information to the thief is to quickly use the “Erase” option to erase your computer’s data.

Even if you retrieve your laptop, some experts advised to take this drastic measure in case virus was planted on your machine, allowing someone to remotely access your information.

There is a capability in LoJack for Laptops that allows you to wipe particular sensitive documents.

Unfortunately, there is no way to get these back later.

2. Make a police report

Immediately notify the police department about the theft. They’ll submit a report. However, don’t expect them to go out of their way to find it. They are more likely to offer you resources and information to aid you in your search.

You can also use a service like Immobilize to register your gadget. It’s possible that the gadget will be returned to you if it’s discovered as part of another crime or inquiry in the future.

3. Make Contact with Your Financial Institutions

Contact your banks as soon as you detect your computer or phone is missing to freeze your various credit and debit cards. Although the person who took your computer is unlikely to gain access to your internet accounts, you don’t want to make any changes to your money or investments.

More than that, you may have saved or auto filled credit card information on some of your favorite online buying sites. Your payment source may be depleted if this is the case.

Your banks and other financial institutions will be more than happy to assist you in receiving new cards and keeping track of your accounts.

4. Log out of all your sessions remotely

To log out of all your sessions and accounts, use a different computer or phone. For your convenience, Google will keep you logged into many devices, but you can easily log out of all of them.

Go to Gmail, scroll to the bottom of your messages, and look for “Details” under your inbox in the bottom right corner. After clicking it, go to the top and select “sign out of all other online sessions.” Then go to this page to de-authorize apps that have access to your Google account. Remember that you can log out of Facebook and other social media accounts from anywhere!

You’ll need to go through all of your saved passwords and erase them. If you’re using a device that isn’t yours, you’ll need to first log into the browser. Go to the password manager after that. Go to Chrome’s Settings > Advanced Settings > Passwords and Forms > Manage Passwords to manage your passwords. Turn off auto-sign in first, then remove all of your passwords by clicking on the three dots next to the site where they’re saved and selecting “delete.” We also recommend that you delete autofill because it frequently saves personal information.

Then, to delete and uninstall any password manager that is synchronizing your data with the stolen device, we recommend signing up for LastPass or a similar tool. It will also assist you in the future with password management.

5. Browser Sync should be turned off

While Browser Sync is normally quite convenient, it isn’t so much fun if your laptop is stolen, because any modifications you make will be synced with your stolen laptop immediately. As a result, the next step is to turn off synchronization. Uncheck Sync everything in Chrome’s Settings > Manage Sync. Then, in Settings, choose “Encrypt all synced data using your own sync pass.” Select a secure password that you haven’t used before. Take a look at our suggestions for passwords.

For all of your applications, you may now start creating new logins and passwords. Start with your primary email address, as many websites send you notifications when your password is changed.

6. Authorities should be notified

It is highly unlikely that authorities are going to initiate a search party for your laptop or phone, however, having a record of the theft and the serial number or IMEI (if you took it down before the device was stolen) will greatly assist the police in returning any recovered property to its rightful owner.

How to prevent future theft?

When you replace your laptop, it’s time to take precautions to prevent future theft:

  1. Create a strong login password that you must input every time you turn on your laptop or enable the screensaver. Use services like Microsoft’s Password Strength Checker to see how strong your password is.
  2. If you’re using a laptop, don’t let websites remember your passwords.
  3. Use services like Microsoft Bitlocker or Apple’s FileVault to encrypt your hard disc. You can also register with services, to have stolen items returned to you if they are recovered.
  4. To keep data loss to a minimum, back up papers, and images to an external hard drive. Make it a practice to not keep unnecessary items on your laptop.

It can be a terrible experience to have your laptop stolen. Someone else might potentially acquire access to your entire life, given everything we carry on our phones these days.

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