Steps to Take If Your Computer Is Stolen

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Computer is Stolen

If your computer is stolen, it’s important to act quickly to protect your data and increase the chances of recovering your device. You should immediately report the theft to the local police and provide them with details such as the make, model, and serial number. Contact your insurance company to file a claim if your policy covers theft.  

Here are 10 steps you should take if your computer is stolen:

1. Report the Theft

  • Contact the Police: Report the theft to the local police department. Provide them with the computer’s make, model, serial number, and any distinguishing features.
  • File an Insurance Claim: If you have insurance that covers theft, file a claim with your insurance provider. Provide them with a copy of the police report.

2. Track Your Computer

  • Use Tracking Software: If you have installed tracking software (like Find My on Mac or third-party tracking apps), use it to locate your computer. Do this as soon as possible before the thief can disable the tracking.
  • Notify Authorities: If you can track your device’s location, inform the police and let them handle the recovery. Do not attempt to retrieve it yourself.

3. Protect Your Data

  • Remote Wipe: If you have set up remote wiping capabilities, use this feature to erase your data to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Change Passwords: Change passwords for your online accounts, especially those accessed from the stolen computer. This includes email, banking, social media, and any other sensitive accounts.

4. Notify Your Contacts

  • Warn Contacts: Inform your contacts that your computer was stolen and advise them to be cautious of any suspicious emails or messages that might come from your accounts.

5. Monitor for Suspicious Activity

  • Check for Unauthorized Access: Regularly monitor your accounts for any unauthorized activity. This includes email, banking, and other critical accounts.
  • Fraud Alerts: Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report to prevent identity theft.

6. Secure Your Other Devices

  • Change Passwords: Change passwords on your other devices to prevent the thief from accessing them using any saved credentials from the stolen computer.
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication: Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your accounts for an added layer of security.

7. Backup Your Data

  • Restore from Backup: If you have backups, restore your data on a new device. This ensures you can continue working without significant data loss.
  • Regular Backups: Continue to perform regular backups to protect against future incidents.

8. Inform Your Workplace (if applicable)

  • Notify Your Employer: If the stolen computer is a work device, inform your employer immediately. Follow their protocols for handling such incidents.

9. Keep Records

  • Documentation: Keep detailed records of all steps taken, including police reports, communication with insurance companies, and changes made to your accounts.

10. Prevent Future Thefts

  • Enhanced Security Measures: Consider enhancing security measures for your devices, such as using physical locks, enabling tracking software, and implementing stronger password protection.

By taking these steps, you can minimize the impact of the theft, protect your sensitive information, and increase the likelihood of recovering your stolen computer.

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Mark Johnson
Senior Technology Consultant at 

Mark Johnson is a passionate technology professional with over 11 years of experience in the Managed Services IT space and a wide variety of industry-leading certifications. Mark’s extensive Managed IT experience and aptitude for quickly learning and adapting to new technologies has equipped him to offer valuable insight across a broad spectrum of business technology solutions.