I recently read an article about a guy named Sean Power who used Twitter to get his stolen laptop back. It was a pretty interesting tale. Sean Power used an app and a series of Tweets to find the person that stole his laptop. The app he used is a free Open Source program called Prey. The Prey app is amazing. It lets you track your device and even access the webcam. Simply log into the Prey website, then mark the device as missing.
How To Set Up Your Devices With The Prey App
What Happens When You Have A Stolen Laptop Or Smartphone?
So let’s say that you have a lost smartphone or stolen laptop. If you have Prey installed, then you can go into the control panel and select that it’s missing. This will then start the location process. You can choose to get reports of where the device is connecting, or just lock down the device completely.
Twitter Users Take The Law Into Their Own Hands
In Sean Power’s case, he traced the laptop to a bar. It was on, so he had the web camera take a picture of the thief. After the Police said that they couldn’t do anything because it wasn’t reported stolen, Sean posted the photo on Twitter.
A small group put together a plan to get the laptop back. While not the best in vigilantism, Sean’s Twitter followers were able to approach and regain the stolen device.
Other Ways To Track Your Devices
Prey is not the only software app that can help you track down stolen laptops and mobile devices. Lo-Jack For Laptops is a popular piece of software that also tracks missing devices. Also, when I was at CES, I learned about Gadgettrak, which also protects your iPhone and iPad as well as the laptop.
It is nice to know there is an open-source version of software like Prey out there that protects your devices. It’s also good to hear that someone recovered their device using the software. While you should never take justice in your own hands, it’s nice to know you have some control.
Always Write Down Your Serial Numbers
Most important things to remember – It is still important to independently collect all serial numbers (I take pictures of the item and serial #) and contact police once your device is missing. There are also certain insurance policies that cover stolen or damaged devices. Check out a company like Worth Avenue Group for policies.
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As a podcaster, videographer and blogger, Jeffrey works to convey the geek message. Inspired and passionate about tech and geek life. As a musician, Jeffrey loves to rock the house.