RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It's a crime that could happen to you -- laptop theft. If you become a victim, it could open you up to identity theft, you could lose pictures and other irreplaceable information.
Rene Crenshaw, an author said, "Basically this is my life, everything is on the computer."
Crenshaw is quick to tell you she lives by her computer. She can't imagine life without it -- it's why she's taken steps to protect her information.
"A password is number one, so if I walk away and the screen saver comes up, then you have to use a password to get back in and initially when you log on you need a password," she said.
Crenshaw also has all of her important files backed up through an online website. She feels she's covered in the event her laptop is stolen. Computer expert, Adam Bell, with Albtech says computer theft is always an issue.
"People steal them all the time, especially laptops they ultra portable, they are easy to transport," Bell said.
Surprisingly, Bell says ID theft is not the most common reason for laptop thefts.
"There is a possibility that laptop would be stolen for personal information but 9 times out of 10 no one cares what's on the computer when they get it, they want that stuff off there," he said.
Bell says if the thief doesn't use the laptop, they will probably try to re-sell it. There are ways to protect your investment -- one way is a computer lock.
"Not every single computer has one but most computers have a place for a laptop lock -- this is actually a device you can put in there lock with a key and lock it to another place, like a bike to a bike rack," added Bell.
If the computer lock is not for you-- technology may be your best defense. Bell recommends you invest in a program that is similar to your car GPS -- it allows police to pin point the location of your computer and track down the thief.
"Upon notifying the police that your device has been stolen it starts sending a signal every 15 minutes so it can triangulate the location of the laptop," Bell said.
If the crook happens to be tech savvy -- Bell says they can't remove the tracking device.
"You can pretty much take control of the computer you can take control of the webcam and see who has actually stolen your computer -- so theft recovery software is really about extreme as you can get for protection," he stated.
Another piece of advise, if your laptop is stolen erase all online passwords. Bell says a good theft recover program will cost you about 40 bucks.
Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.