July 18, 2023

What to do if You’re Robbed and Electronic Devices are Stolen

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It is a sad reality that crime is on the rise in residential neighbourhoods. When stolen items include electronic devices, there is a risk you can become a future victim of cybercrime. Our devices often have our most private and sensitive information as well as the passwords and provide access to our emails and banking accounts. So, if you are the victim of a burglary, it is important to respond effectively to limit the damage. 

Here are some considerations if you are the victim of theft to manage the situation and protect yourself from further repercussions like banking theft, identify theft, and fraud.  

Contact the police:  

Call the emergency services or your local non-emergency police line to report the burglary. Provide them with all the necessary information, including the break-in details, a description of the stolen items, and any other relevant information. 

Document the incident:  

Conduct a thorough inventory of your belongings to determine what items are missing. Take photos of any damaged entry points or areas where the thief may have left evidence. This will help with your police report and insurance claim. Note the make, model, and serial number of any stolen electronic equipment including laptops and iPads, if you have that information.  

Inform your insurance company: 

If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, contact your insurance company to report the burglary and file a claim. They will guide you through the necessary steps and may require a police report or other documentation. 

Secure your property:  

Depending on the extent of the damage and entry point, you may need to secure your property. Arrange for repairs to broken windows, doors, or locks to prevent further unauthorized access. If the burglar took things like car or house keys, there is a risk they could come back. You may consider having your security company park a car outside your house or send patrols throughout the evening to check and make sure there are no additional attempts to access your property. Get in touch if your security company does not provide this service and we can provide a recommendation. 

Track your electronic devices:  

If you have installed tracking software on your devices or enabled device tracking features like Find My Device (on Windows) or Find My Mac (on MacOS), try to locate their current location. Provide this information to the police, who may be able to recover it. Additionally, you may consider using a professional private investigator who can physically follow the items and potentially locate and document the criminals who have them. A professional surveillant can wait and track the items until the police arrive and are trained to give testimony in court in support of any criminal investigation. Get in touch if you require surveillance assistance. 

Change your locks:  

If the thief gained entry by force, consider changing your locks to enhance security. This precaution is especially important if your keys were stolen. 

Monitor your accounts:  

If you had any personal information, passwords, or financial details stored on your devices, it’s very important to take steps to protect yourself from identity theft or fraud. Change passwords for your online accounts, monitor your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized activity, and consider freezing your credit. 

In Canada there are three credit services to contact to freeze accounts:  

If these companies do not offer credit freezing in your jurisdiction you should also consider adding fraud alert services. 

Attempt to remotely access and wipe devices: 

If your computer is currently running active security / encryption such as BitLocker or you have endpoint management tools such as Microsoft InTune there may be an opportunity to remotely access and wipe your devices to maintain the privacy and integrity of your information. If you are unsure get in touch and our cyber experts can triage solutions based on your current situation. We also offer cyber hardening services and endpoint solutions for any devices that were not stolen but may be vulnerable due to linked accounts and passwords.  

Backup data and change passwords:  

If you have a recent backup of your data, restore it to another device if possible. Change all the passwords for your online accounts to prevent unauthorized access. 

Review and enhance your security:  

Evaluate your home’s security measures and consider reinforcing them. Consider a threat and risk assessment which would identify vulnerabilities with recommendations to mitigate. This could involve upgrading locks, installing a security system, adding motion sensor lights, or fencing etc. 

Notify your neighbours:  

Inform your immediate neighbours about the break-in, especially if they share walls or have a similar proximity to your house. They may also have valuable information to share with the police such as camera footage. They should also be extra vigilant of their own property as criminals may return to a neighbourhood to seek out future targets.  

We know this can be a very unsettling time. We are here to help. The above information is provided for information purposes. All situations are different, and you should always follow the advice of law enforcement officials and your insurance provider. They can provide you with specific guidance tailored to your situation.