These days, just about everyone uses a notebook computer, laptop, or new-fangled ultrabook — if not an iPad or Android tablet — to get work done while on the road or away from the office. Sadly, the ubiquity of portable computing has made these convenient devices a prime target for theft. If you become target of a gadget thief, here’s what to do if your company laptop is stolen.
1) Change your passwords. First and foremost, change your passwords. Start by changing your corporate network server password, then move to highly confidential and sensitive accounts, such as your bank account and credit cards. Then move to your email, shopping website accounts, social media accounts.
2) Report theft to authorities. Notify local authorities, like your local police department. If your small business has an IT department or designated IT person, notify them.
3) Contact bank account providers. Inform your bank account providers as soon as possible to let them know of a potential compromise of your information. Most experts recommend closing these accounts, or changing the account numbers at a minimum.
4) Put a fraud alert and credit freeze on credit card accounts. Contact credit monitoring services, like Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax to place a fraud alert on your account. It’s also wise to request a credit freeze on your credit card accounts.
5) Notify customers. If any sensitive or identifying customer information was housed on the stolen laptop, then you need to take the painstaking steps to notify your customers. Of course, this is an area that needs to be treaded with carefully. We’ve previously outlined the five action steps to take if your customer data is stolen.
6) Notify your insurance company. If you have cyber liability insurance, notify your small business insurance company of the laptop theft.
7) Notify the computer manufacturer. Some security experts advise notifying the computer manufacturer of the theft. They can make a note in their database. Should the thief call for support, it will be flagged.
8) Check sites dedicated to recovering stolen computers. Sites like the Stolen Computer Registry are dedicated to listing and finding stolen computers.
If you are so inclined, you can check local pawn shops or online local classified ads to see if the thief is trying to sell your computer. Another method to recover a stolen computer is to place a local ad with the computer’s serial and model numbers indicating a reward will be paid upon its return.