What to do if your laptop is stolen
Losing a laptop is never fun. Actually, it’s more than just not fun. Losing a laptop means that information on your computer has probably been taken too. If someone stole your laptop, the chances are that you won't be able to use it again and access other information as well. Depending on where you live and the kind of security measures you have in place, there are different ways to deal with this situation. We can’t tell you how to react to losing your laptop because everyone’s response will depend on their circumstances. But we can help by explaining what you can do when your laptop has been stolen and how these actions might protect your privacy in the long run.
Tracking and finding your laptop: Steps to take after the theft
It’s important to track your laptop after the theft. There are various different steps you should take to find your laptop and find out who stole it. You may want to contact a lawyer about what options are available to protect your privacy once a thief has all your personal information.
Staying safe: Taking steps to protect your privacy and safety
First, don’t panic! The first thing you should do after your laptop has been stolen is to contact the police and file a report. If you want to stay safe in the future, you should create a detailed list of important files on your laptop and store them somewhere else, perhaps on the cloud. It’s also important to make sure that all your passwords are changed.
How to protect your data if your laptop has been stolen
If you have any evidence that someone else might have had access to your computer before it was lost or if your laptop was just recently stolen, you’ll need to make a police report. You don’t need to report the theft right away--you can wait a while before doing so. The next step will depend on what kind of information on your laptop has been compromised. If the data is sensitive, you should encrypt it and store it in a different location with another password. This is where we say that it depends on your circumstances because there are many ways you can go about this process. The important thing is not to delete anything unless it must be removed for legal purposes or if the data must be removed because of potential legal action against the perpetrator of the crime (think lawsuits). After taking these steps, make sure that you’re using strong passwords for all of your accounts and regularly updating them so no one can take over an account by guessing a password.
Notify the police and report the crime
You should report the crime to the police and file a report. If the laptop has been stolen, you'll need to call the police and file a formal theft report. This will help them locate your stolen property and take steps to prevent it from happening again.
Keep an eye on the Internet for suspicious activity
The first thing you should do after your laptop is stolen is to keep an eye on the Internet for suspicious activity. You can do this from the comfort of your own home or wherever you are. There are two things that you need to watch for when looking for suspicious activity. First, you want to see if any information has been leaked about the computer or its former owner. If so, be sure to change passwords and contact authorities so they can investigate the situation fully. Second, if nothing has been leaked yet, look out for spam emails and phishing attempts. It’s a good idea to have a spam filter in place when using email as well as make sure that your antivirus software is up-to-date.
Use two-step authentication for your online accounts
Two-step authentication is a security method that will add an extra layer of protection to your accounts. The extra step in the process is a verification code sent to your cell phone or email account. This prevents someone from accessing your account if they steal your password. You can see whether or not this type of protection is available for your account by looking at the website's security settings. If you use a password manager, you might be able to change your passwords easily and quickly. Password managers store passwords and other important personal information in one place so that if you lose access to all of them, you don’t have to worry about getting locked out of everything.
If your laptop is stolen, you will want to quickly and efficiently find it, protect yourself and your data, and notify the police. Use these tips as a checklist to help you get started. Losing your laptop can be a frightening experience. You’ll want to track it down as quickly as possible, but once you have it back in your possession, you’ll want to take steps to protect your privacy and safety. But you don’t have to do it alone! Join the conversation on the Safe-to-Tell Facebook group with other victims of laptop theft and share your experience.