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Laptop Theft - How to Protect Your Computer

Laptop - Protect it From Theft

Laptop computer thefts are at an all time high. Some of the places laptops are commonly stolen are airports, hotel rooms, parked cars, wi-fi enabled coffee shops or cafes and even in business offices.

Airport statistics are staggering, as approximately 10,278 laptops are stolen or lost every week at the 36 largest airports. Roughly 2000 are stolen from medium sized airports. This often occurs when an individual is at the security checkpoints. Hotels and parked cars are a close second for thefts. The bulk of lost computers at airports are never recovered, as most people assume they have no chance of ever having it returned to them and do not pursue a search with airport personnel.

Lock For Laptop

Computer Safety Newsletter

Computer Safety Newsletter

Traveling is the Most Vulnerable Time

It is imperative that you keep an eye on your laptop at all times when you are using it away from home. Even if you are at a conference, assuming you are among friends, when and when you leave to go to the coffee pot or restroom, computers are frequently stolen. Just a short distraction gives a thief the opportunity to steal.

This may also happen if you are in a cafe when you walk up to refill your coffee cup for instance. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests that you think of your computer as cash on the table and do not let it out of yours site and better yet, use a security lock. Identity theft often occurs if your laptop it stolen. However, there are several things you can do to lower the risk of this loss.

How To Keep Your Laptop From Being Stolen

Laptop Anti-Theft: Travel Identity Theft

Computer Theft Prevention

This is a list of several things you can do to prevent the theft of your laptop.

  1. Keep your laptop locked with a laptop security cable, attaching it to something heavy that would be difficult for an individual to move.
  2. Do something to make your computer easily identified, such as use some permanent marking or engrave your name on the top.
  3. There are several security programs which you may purchase that can track your computer as soon as someone logs onto the web. There are also alarms available. Some of them make an alarm sound when there is an unexpected motion of your computer or sometimes you can set a specific range around you. The alarm will then sound if the computer leaves that range. Some type of lo-jack program is also useful, particularly if you frequently use your laptop outside of your home.
  4. There are some very good locks and cables that can be attached to a leg of a heavy table or desk.
  5. In airports keep you eye on your computer as you go through security. Hold it until the individual in front of you has moved, then watch is as it emerges from the metal detector. Pick it up immediately.
  6. If you are staying in a hotel room with a safe and are leaving the room, use the safe if one is available or take the laptop with you. If you have a security cable, connect it to the most secure location and put up the "Do Not Disturb" sign before you leave the room.
  7. Never leave you laptop visible in your car, not even in the trunk. Parked cars are a favorite place for thieves to look, particularly in crowded garages.
  8. Many of us have a special computer bag which makes it obvious to others that we are carrying a laptop. A safer way to travel might be putting your laptop in a backpack, a small suitcase or a padded briefcase.
  9. Remember to keep your laptop password protected. Also, do not store your passwords with or in your laptop. This alone will help prevent identity fraud if your laptop is stolen. Of course, a firewall is necessary and keep your anti-virus program up to date.
  10. Try to not put your laptop on the floor. If that is necessary, place it between your legs, so you are conscious of it continually.

Back side of My Cooling Pad

Pamela Photo Collection Note cushion material

Pamela Photo Collection Note cushion material

Use a Cooling Pad for Your Laptop

Many people, such as myself, use their laptop while sitting in a comfortable chair, like a recliner. As you are aware, computers get quite warm sitting on your legs. It is well worthwhile to purchase a cooling pad that has a fan, which will keep your computer cool and most are cushioned on the bottom which makes them more comfortable on your legs. It may also extend the life of your laptop to some degree, although laptops have their own fan. It certainly is more comfortable.

In Conclusion

I travel somewhat regularly and have often taken my laptop to the library for genealogy research and also in wi-fi cafes when traveling especially. I have always watched my laptop closely, but I didn't realize how many laptops are stolen each day. When I started reading about this problem it enlightened me to the fact that I need to take further security precautions.

Hopefully, some of these tips for safety will be useful to all the people reading this hub.

© 2012 Pamela Oglesby


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on May 16, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

You are not currently at risk but many people are. Thanks for your comments.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 16, 2020:

We just have our desktop computer and a tablet, but we will remember this advice if we buy and start using a laptop.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 03, 2014:

Scroll to Continue

Jackie, This is a sad truth. We all watch our purses carefully in the grocery stores also. Thanks for your commetns.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 02, 2014:

Great tips Pamela and the very sad truth is we have to assume everyone is a thief. ^+

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on January 01, 2014:

Patricia, I am glad this hub was helpful for you. I would be quite upset if my laptop was stolen. Thank you for the angels and I'm sending some back to you. Happy New Year!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 31, 2013:

Great suggestions, Pamela.

I have two laptops and try to be very careful when I am not at home. But these reminders will keep safety in the forefront of my mind.

Angels are on the way to you. ps

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on August 27, 2012:

unknown spy, I am so glad you found this hub helpful. Thanks for your comments.

DragonBallSuper on August 27, 2012:

This is really really great and very useful.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 29, 2012:

Dee, I heard that also which is why I purchased the cooling pad. I appreciate your comments.

Dee aka Nonna on March 28, 2012:

This was great information...thank you. I heard, just recently, that you should not use your laptop on your lap or any soft place because it does not allow it to breath. Who knew....Really enjoyed reading this. I am always looking for ways to extend the life of everything...from clothes to appliances, to electronics, etc.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 22, 2012:

debbie roberts, I am glad you found the hub helpful. Thank you for your comments.

Debbie Roberts from Greece on March 22, 2012:

Your hub has certainly opened my eyes. I never really gave a thought to how open to thieving our laptops are, but I have now and will make sure that I'm extra carefully if I take mine out and about.

A useful hub for sure, voted up and shared.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 21, 2012:

always exploring, Yes, I believe they will steal anything, which is a sad commentary on society. Thanks for your comments.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 21, 2012:

This is a complete surprise to me. I guess people will steal anything. Great tips..Thank you Pam...

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 21, 2012:

Reves-diary, Thanks so much for your comments.

BPOP, It does seem that way. I appreciate your comments,

breakfastpop on March 21, 2012:

Thanks for the great tips Pamela. It seems that the crooks are outnumbering the normal people so I'm really grateful for your advice.

Reve from Dhaka on March 21, 2012:

This must have helped many people whose are having laptops. Thanks a lot for you're pretty much fruitful hub :)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 20, 2012:

anglnwu, I am glad this hub was helpful and I appreciate your comments.

Susan, I didn't know about the cooling pads for a while either until about 6 months ago, then I bought one and really love it. Thanks for your comments.

Lady E, Thank you for pointing out the correction. I reread the hub twice, but missed the obvious. I am glad the hub was helpful to you.

Elena from London, UK on March 20, 2012:

Cheers Pamela. This is very useful. You can always edit the spelling in the title, so when people search for "computer", it will come up.

Thanks and Best Wishes.

Great Hub. :)

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on March 20, 2012:

I didn't know I could buy a cooling pad for my laptop. Something I should get. My laptop came with instructions to always use on a flat surface. If I'm sitting where I cannot have it flat I put the box it came with underneath. I think the cooling pad would work much better for this.

anglnwu on March 20, 2012:

Good tips.I can see why computer are theft-magnets---one can never be too careful. I always keep mine close to my body when traveling. And how cool is the cooling pad--I didn't know they exist until now. Thanks for sharing and rated up.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 20, 2012:

The Frog Prince, I think that explains everything. Isn't the 2nd amendment grand? Thanks for your comment.

The Frog Prince from Arlington, TX on March 20, 2012:

Pamela - Great writing and good advice. I carry a big 357 Magnum and I don't seem to be having any problems what-so-ever.

Please check your headline.

The Frog

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 20, 2012:

drbj, I agree. You just can't be too careful. I appreciate your comments.

prasetio, I appreciate your comments as always. Enjoy your day also.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on March 19, 2012:

I am glad you wrote about this topic and I really enjoy your tips above. I use ACER and it's old laptop but still running well. I love the video as well. Thanks, Pamela for writing and share with us. Rated up (useful, awesome, and interesting). Take care and enjoy your day!


drbj and sherry from south Florida on March 19, 2012:

Thanks, Pamela, for these excellent tips on thwarting someone who may be intent on appropriating your beloved computer. The bad guys are everywhere: airports, malls, parking lots, theaters, libraries, bookstores, coffee shops - you name it.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 19, 2012:

djeff, You are absolutely right. It only takes you being distracted for a couple of minute for someone to steal your laptop. At least the alarm or a cable if you have a good place to lock it should take a little more time of the part of the thief. Thanks for your comments.

tipoague, I am so glad you found the hub helpful and I appreciate your comments.

Tammy on March 19, 2012:

I was bummed when my laptop overheated while I was using it. I will be sure to purchase cooling unit to set it on next time. These are terrific tips for those that are traveling with their laptops. Thanks for sharing these terrific ideas.

Daryl j. from Converse, TX on March 19, 2012:

As mentioned in an hub I published, your laptop is only as safe and secure as the determination of the person trying to get it. The tips you gave are some good tips are good tips and thank you for giving them, but each of the tips can be nullified with determination.

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