What You Need to Know About Identity Theft and Your Laptop

3 steps to protect your identity

We've all heard the horror stories of identity theft. It strikes fear in our hearts, and we do everything possible to prevent it from happening. But like a true thief, identity thieves look for any possible weak spot to strike. One of those weak spots that most people never consider is their laptop.

Here's what you need to know about identity theft and your laptop.

Identity theft and your laptop

The main reason thieves go after personal laptops is because they contain a wealth of private information. If you're like most people, your laptop contains everything that an identity thief needs to steal your identity.

Think about it. More than likely you have the following information on your laptop:

-- Name
-- Social Security Number
-- Date of Birth
-- Home Address
-- Home Phone Number
-- Cell Phone Number
-- Bank Account Number
-- Savings Account Number
-- Credit Card Numbers

This information is everything a thief needs to become you! If your laptop is stolen they will make full use of this information and use it to steal your identity. To prevent this from happening, consider taking the following steps.

Step #1 -- Serial number

This is a very important number. If your laptop is ever stolen, you need the serial number to prove that it's yours. Tracking your stolen laptop is also much easier if you have the serial number to give the authorities.

The authorities are much more likely to help find your laptop if they can enter your serial number into their database and alert other officials to be on the lookout. This works much better than a vague physical description of your computer and the information on it.

Step #2 -- Passwords

Having passwords stored on your computer is very convenient for you. It's also very convenient for thieves. Make a backup of your personal information and all passwords. Then remove all of this information from your laptop.

It is an inconvenience, but will save you an even bigger inconvenience if you have to recover your stolen identity.

Some laptops have programs built in that automatically save your passwords. Do not use this feature. Identity thieves love this feature as much as you and know how to quickly break into the system.

Step #3 -- Tracking software

There is now software available that can help you track your laptop in the event that it is ever lost or stolen. If you use one of these services and your laptop is stolen, you can call and report it to the service.

Your laptop immediately goes on the most wanted list and they start looking for it. The software enables the service to track your laptop's location when the thief begins to use it. Whether he uses dial-up or broadband, the service receives a signal and the laptop is located. Your laptop is then recovered by the service or local authorities.

With the convenience of modern technology come problems. One of these problems is identity theft. Do your best to prevent it from happening to you by taking action and following these steps.

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