Technology

13 tips for protecting your laptop and client data when traveling

Don't fall prey to scams or thieves
  • Travel light to avoid fumbling around.
  • Stowe your luggage across the aisle so you can keep an eye on it.
  • Always take valuables such as your laptop onto the plane; never check them.

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As a real estate agent, your livelihood is in your laptop. How well do you protect it when you’re out and about or traveling on business or vacation? If you must pretend your laptop is a live baby in order to keep it guarded, then so be it.

Many agents leave their laptops unattended “for just a second,” but if a baby can be abducted (or fall off a table) when the parents take their eyes away for “just a few moments,” then surely, anyone could snatch your laptop.

Like protecting a child, you must be vigilant, especially when you travel! Thieves love airports like ants love a picnic. They know how easy it is for harried business travelers to drop their guard. Here are 13 tips to help you avoid a bad situation while traveling.

13 tips for protecting your laptop while traveling

  1. Don’t set yourself up for bumbling and fumbling around with too many belongings. Travel light.
  2. Tape an ID label or business card to your laptop.
  3. Don’t use ID tags for your luggage; they can get torn or ripped off. Put your ID information inside the luggage.
  4. Try to reserve a seat at the front of the plane.
  5. If you use a shuttle, keep your luggage at your side rather than in the rear compartment.
  6. When possible, always place your belongings on the counter you’re at so nobody can snatch them off the floor.
  7. Be very suspicious of overly emotional people asking you for help or a few people nearby erupting into an argument; these could be setups to distract you so that an accomplice could rob you. Remember, no distraught traveler’s fate is in your hands.
  8. Crimes of distraction commonly occur at checkpoints with the metal detectors. Someone distracts you so that an accomplice could steal your items after they go through the checkpoint. Either don’t allow yourself to be distracted as you prepare to go through the metal detector, or consider a pat-down. Personnel will require you to face your belongings during the entire pat-down.
  9. Always take valuables onto the plane; never check them.
  10. Here’s one you probably never thought of: Put your carry-on in the compartment across from your seat, not directly overhead, so you can become aware if anyone’s digging into it.
  11. When in your car or a rental, put your laptop in the trunk, not in the front or back seat when leaving the car.
  12. Don’t leave your laptop unattended when at a coffee shop, not for a second.
  13. Install a lost/locate/wipe. There are many options.

Although some of these tips might sound inconvenient, they are meant to protect you, your data and your clients. By adopting basic security habits, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Robert Siciliano is CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com and a personal security and identity theft expert.

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