Thursday, July 25, 2013

UK: Canadian Translator, 53, Has Her Laptop Stolen from Rental Car in London

According to The London Free Press, Canadian Michele Campeau, 53, from Ottawa, on her first trip to London, could have had a much me uneventful trip. On the other hand, it could have gone much worse: She could have been robbed at gunpoint. 

The purpose of Ms. Campeau's visit to London was to go to Forest City on July 6 for Sunfest in Victoria Park.

Instead of leaving with wonderful memories memories and a few quaint souvenirs, she spent much of her time completing police reports for the theft of her Dell computer which had been stolen from her car in the vicinity of Queens Avenue near Clarence St.

London police report that more than 1,200 people have reported thefts from their vehicles this year. On average, six thefts from vehicles occur every day.

She left her laptop in a briefcase on the passenger side floor covered carefully with miscellaneous items, thinking there would not be a problem. 

At first blush, Queens appeared to be a perfect normal street. It is clean, has lots of traffic and she concluded that her laptop would be fine. It wasn't.

It wasn’t until she returned to her guest room in Port Stanley that Campeau realized her laptop was missing.

COMMENT: From all indications, her car seemed fine. None of the windows were smashed and there was no evidence that the victim's vehicle had been compromised.

Ms. Campeau looked repeatedly for her laptop on the floor and finally concluded that her laptop was stolen by gifted thieves who were skilled at getting into her car easily and quickly.

Not only did she have personal and banking information on her laptop, but additionally she had lots of professional data that stemmed from her work as a translator, including client work products and proprietary information.  Then, of course, her concern for identity theft also ran through her mind.

After filing reports with the OPP and London police, Campeau decided to return to London the following day and do a little investigating on her own, to no avail. Actually, all she lost was a vacation in London.

Unfortunately, what Ms. Campeau did not realize is that laptop theft is one of the greatest risks for global travelers bar none.

What the victim in this case may not have known is that there were options of choice in this case that potentially could have prevented her from becoming a victim and losing her only laptop that was used for business and pleasure.

Here are some key tips to remember and follow:

1. First of all, never take a laptop abroad WITHOUT backing up all data;

2. NEVER leave a laptop or mobile device in any vehicle unattended;

3. Consider utilizing the services of:

 This site can offer services that include Lojack for both laptops and mobile devices; remote deletion of data (regardless of where the unit is located); encryption of data, folders and files; to name but a few services; and

4. Consider purchasing a small mini-laptop for travel anywhere, enabling the user to place only those files that are needed on the mini, have Wi-Fi access, stay in in touch with the office and family and friends, etc. 

Even better, such minis weight less than two pounds, enabling them to be carried in a totebag anywhere effortlessly.  Such units can also be encrypted to protect vital information and identity theft.