Your laptop computer goes missing with all your data and personal information. You panic: All your data is in a stranger's hand. You want your laptop computer back but have no idea how to track it, and law-enforcement officials say they can’t help you. Though laptop computers are stolen or misplaced every day, you don’t have to lose yours forever. With preparation, you can privately track your missing laptop computer.
Register your laptop computer with the manufacturer. This allows you to have the serial number recorded in their database. Law enforcement officials can easily identify your laptop later.
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Apply a security sticker to your laptop. Security stickers come with strong adhesive that is extremely difficult to remove. Security Tracking of Office Property (STOP) stickers even chemically apply "Stolen Property" tags beneath the sticker on the laptop that make your laptop identifiable as a stolen property; if the thief is able to remove the sticker, the "Stolen Property" imprint is left showing. These security stickers also include your name, address and telephone number, and request the return of your laptop computer. Stuffbak, StopTheft and TrackItBack make popular security stickers (see Resources below).
Tell your Laptop computer to contact you when it is stolen or missing. Download and install the free laptop tracking software Adeona, and your laptop computer will contact you discreetly when it is missing. Adeona, from University of Washington programmers, is a small program that sends location information at regular intervals to a designated email address. This allows you to locate your missing laptop computer (see Resources below).
Subscribe to laptop computer tracking services. Lojack for Laptop and TrackItBack are popular laptop tracking service providers (see Resources below). For a fee, they will monitor the movement of your computer. They will also notify and work closely with law enforcement officials to recover your missing laptop.
While the steps outlined above will help recover your laptop, they will not help unless you install them or sign up for the services before your laptop computer comes up missing.