Were you traveling recently, and some thieves stole your belongings? Here’s what you need to do when you get your laptop stolen.
Few things are as heartbreaking as when you have your laptop stolen, especially if it’s an expensive one. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to help you recover the laptop or mitigate your losses. Although you should’ve taken preventive measures before someone stole the laptop, it’s all but too late for that.
In this post, we’ll be looking at what your next moves should be after you’ve had your laptop stolen. Read on to find out how you can recover your laptop or at least your data when someone steals your laptop.
Call the Police
Naturally, your first move would be to call the police, but don’t expect too much from them. When you call them, remember to use the non-emergency number, which is 101. Make sure you have the serial and model numbers at hand before you call the police.
You shouldn’t expect a team of officers to go scouting around the city for your laptop; that only happens in the movies. The police will file a report on the stolen laptop case, and you’ll later receive a crime number. Should your laptop turn out in a separate investigation or police case, then you’ll be able to get it back.
Track Your Laptop’s Location
If you had a location-tracking service like Prey, use your smartphone to track your laptop. If your laptop connects to Wi-Fi, you get its location information straight to your mobile phone. Once you do, you can contact the police to apprehend the perpetrator and recover your laptop.
If you’ve enabled “find my device” or “find my Mac,” then the easier it will be for you. Just sign in to your Microsoft or Apple account, and you’ll receive location information about your device when it connects to the internet.
Erase All Your Data
Sometimes, you just have to accept that there’s no way you’re ever going to get your laptop back. If that’s the case, then your best move is to wipe all the data from your laptop. That’s the best way to prevent the thief from acquiring any sensitive information from you.
In some cases, it’s wise to erase all the data even if you recover your laptop. Doing so is a precaution if the thief has installed some malware that allows them to access your information remotely. This is especially important for company execs, just in case a business rival is behind your laptop theft.
Change Your Passwords
If you’re still second-guessing whether you should erase all your data, then you should change all your passwords. You should do so if you save all of them so that the laptop auto-fills it without you even typing the password. If you don’t, you’ll be giving the thief a direct pass to your bank, shopping, and social media accounts.
Peruse the Vicinity
Don’t be surprised to find your laptop just within a few blocks from where you last saw it. You see, laptop thieves may dump your bag and laptop in a nearby area, to wait out until they make sure no one’s tracking the laptop.
So search the nearby trash cans to check whether you can find it there. If you don’t find it, there’s a high chance you’ll find your bag with your notebooks and other important documents. Though you’ll look a bit insane, look inside the nearby trash cans for your stolen bag.
Contact Your Banks
Most of us save our credit card information, specifically passwords, so that we don’t have to enter them every time we shop online. There’s a high likelihood that your laptop thief will also want to steal your credit card information.
Call your banks so they can temporarily freeze your credit cards and take note of any suspicious purchases. You’d be shocked to find your bank accounts and credit cards drained after someone steals your laptop. If you want, you can consider getting a new credit card and ask your banks to monitor your other accounts.
Inform Your Contacts
Most people never think of warning their contacts after their laptops get stolen. However, you should make a point of informing them, especially close family and friends. The thief might send emails to your favorite contacts asking for handouts or bail, for instance.
Phishing has become rampant, and if you get your laptop stolen, you could be a victim of it. Apart from “stealing” your contacts’ money, your laptop thief may also taint your good name. If you have no hopes of recovering your laptop, make sure you inform most of your contacts about the occurrence.
File Your Taxes ASAP
Of all the thieving ways, the most malicious one is when the thief steals your laptop and claims your refund. They’ll file fake tax returns using your name and claim it. So you’ll be losing your much-anticipated refund, and you may also land in some trouble with the IRS.
Call Your Computer Guy
Hopefully, you have a dedicated computer guy who takes care of all the issues you have with your laptop. Be it network issues, screen damage, or sound on Mac not working, he’s the guy you go to.
You’d be surprised at how helpful computer repair guys can be when you lose your laptop. If you furnish them with the laptop’s model and serial number, they’ll alert you if they catch wind of any laptop with similar numbers brought for repairs.
Was Your Laptop Stolen? It’s Not the End of the World
You shouldn’t worry too much should you get your laptop stolen. Just do your best to take the above steps and cross your fingers that you’ll find your laptop. If you don’t, at least you’ll only have lost your laptop and not your sensitive information and money too.
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