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Laptop Theft - How to Protect Your Computer

Updated on September 19, 2016
Pamela99 profile image

I'm interested in social issues, relationships, problems of daily living, jobs, exercise, poems and fiction, plus safer living conditions.

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


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    11 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Peggy,

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

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    11 months ago from Houston, Texas

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

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

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

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    7 years ago from the beautiful south

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

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    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!

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    7 years ago from North Central Florida

    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

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

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

  • unknown spy profile image

    Life Under Construction 

    8 years ago from Neverland

    This is really really great and very useful.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

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

  • Dee aka Nonna profile image

    Dee aka Nonna 

    9 years ago

    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.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

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

  • debbie roberts profile image

    Debbie Roberts 

    9 years ago from Greece

    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.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

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

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    9 years ago from Southern Illinois

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

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Reves-diary, Thanks so much for your comments.

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

  • breakfastpop profile image


    9 years ago

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

  • Reves-diary profile image


    9 years ago from Dhaka

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

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    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.

  • Lady_E profile image


    9 years ago from London, UK

    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. :)

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 

    9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    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 profile image


    9 years ago

    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.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

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

  • The Frog Prince profile image

    The Frog Prince 

    9 years ago from Arlington, TX

    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

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    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 profile image


    9 years ago from malang-indonesia

    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 profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    9 years ago from south Florida

    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.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    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.

  • tlpoague profile image


    9 years ago from USA

    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.

  • djeff37 profile image

    Daryl j. 

    9 years ago from Converse, TX

    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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