Laptop Stolen? Do These Things Immediately

person stealing laptop from backpack

If your company laptop is stolen, how much money do think this will cost your company? 

$700? $1,000? 

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but if your company laptop has been stolen, the loss of the hardware itself is likely the least of your company’s worries. According to an FBI crime computer survey, the average cost to a company from a stolen laptop is in the ballpark of $30,000. 

Before you start an internet search about who is spending $30,000 on laptops, know that this figure was calculated according to the value of the stolen data housed on these devices when not properly secured. For companies with a heightened security protocol, thieves may not have been able to pull any data from the computers. For others, potentially millions of dollars worth of information may have been available without so much as a password standing in their way. 

So, do you think your laptop has been stolen? Here is what you should do next. 

1. Change all of your passwords.

Changing your passwords on a regular basis is not a bad idea. If you feel that someone could potentially access any private information through your lost or stolen computer or personal device, there’s never been a better time to change all accessible passwords. You should be able to change your passwords from a remote location once you have confirmed your identity with your banks, credit card companies, company IT administrators, email providers, and even social media accounts. Taking this step early may save you and your company a great deal of trouble. Even if you later discover your device was simply misplaced, the worst-case scenario is that you now have some new passwords to remember. 

2. Confirm that it was stolen and not simply misplaced. 

For one reason or another, we’re all conditioned to believe that if we’ve lost something in public, it was likely stolen. However, in many instances, we’ve simply misplaced the item. According to a report by LaGuardia Airport, they revealed that an average of 800 laptops are left at their checkpoints every year. You may need to just retrace your steps. You might find that you just left your laptop at a cafe, in the back of an Uber, or elsewhere. 

3. Track it down with GPS. 

Whether you lost your laptop or it was stolen, if it still has power, there’s a good chance that you can track it down using GPS. For laptops running Microsoft, you will likely be able to run a search using the program’s Find My Device feature. If you’ve lost track of your Mac, you can use Find My Mac. By the same token, you can also track down your lost iOS or lost Android devices via GPS as well.

4. Cancel all saved credit cards. 

It’s never been easier to cancel credit cards at the first sign of trouble. Credit card companies have made canceling cards a sinch not only to protect account holders but also to protect themselves from loss. You can likely just give them a phone call and have your credit cards canceled in moments.

5. Notify your clients. 

While it sounds like you’re admitting some form of weakness by admitting when any of your devices or data has been compromised, your clients would rather find out immediately from you rather than via a phishing attempt through your email address later. They’ll appreciate you being very upfront, honest, and responsible. You may also be surprised at how understanding they’re likely to be. 

Before your laptop is stolen: 

If you’re reading this even though your laptop has not been stolen, there’s never been a better time to develop a plan for what you’ll do if your laptop, your mobile device, or any other conduit for personal information is stolen. Make sure your passwords, security measures, data backups, or retrieval methods are functioning optimally. 


Follow These Six Rules For A Strong, Effective Password

February 8th, 2021