Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / News Stories / The downside of anti-theft tracking software

The downside of anti-theft tracking software

Imagine walking into your office one morning and discovering that overnight some of your office equipment had been stolen, in­cluding a laptop. In this scenario, you had installed anti-theft soft­ware on the laptop. Immediate­ly upon realizing the laptop was missing, you initiated the process of tracking. When the thief booted up the laptop and used the Inter­net, his location was recorded. You were then able to notify the police of the stolen items’ where­abouts. The police were able to go to the location, recover the items, and arrested the suspect.

Anti-theft tracking software does ex­ist, and you can use it to do exactly that.

Each piece of software offers slight­ly different options; however, they all work in a similar way.

Laptop Theft Thief Stolen MAINThe software is an aftermarket pur­chase that must be installed. The de­vice is registered with the software firm and you provide them with your contact information. If your device is stolen a report is made (by you), which initiates tracking. When the device is connected to the Internet it sends GPS coordinates and/or an IP address to the software firm. They in turn notify you, and you notify your local law enforcement agen­cy (do not attempt to recover the items on your own; vigilantism can put you in legal trouble of your own). You may also have the option of remotely locking the device so the thief cannot access your information.

Assuming that the thief or someone else gains access to your device, some software offers an option of snapping pictures with the device’s built-in cam­era. This may capture an image of the person who is attempting to use your device. You should only use this type of software with a full understanding of potential legal ramifications of cap­turing a person’s image without their knowledge and consent (perhaps a per­son other than the perpetrator).

A more prudent method is to use soft­ware that captures screen shots. If the thief signs into any of their personal accounts, such as Facebook, a screen shot may capture this identifying infor­mation and law enforcement can then identify and locate the individual.

In the case above, the owner did not violate any laws. Had she not installed anti-theft tracking software, she cer­tainly would not have found her proper­ty so quickly, if she had found it at all. In this case, the thief had little time to access any personal or proprietary in­formation.

Anti-theft tracking software probably sounds like a great investment, doesn’t it?

Before you whip out your credit card, consider what happened next.

In the scenario mentioned above, the police recovered the items and they were taken into evidence. The owner was not allowed to claim the items until the case went to trial and was conclud­ed (in this case, the thief was convicted).

The items were covered by an insur­ance policy that, in the event of loss, theft, or damage would have replaced them. However, since the police recov­ered the items the insurance company would not pay the claim. For almost a year, the owner of the laptop and tab­let was left in limbo. She did not have access to her property, nor could she re­place the items unless she paid out of pocket.

The software did exactly what it was designed to do. The owner located and locked the devices preventing any ac­cess to, or theft of, intellectual property. Her actions resulted in the apprehen­sion and conviction of the perpetrator and saved the insurance company sev­eral thousand dollars. Yet she did not have access to her property for many, many months. It was a frustrating and disillusioning experience and an exam­ple of the saying that, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Different states and municipalities have different policies and procedures for reclaiming stolen property. If you are considering purchasing anti-theft software, consider these policies and speak to your insurance agent about how they would handle a claim of this nature so you can develop a well-round­ed strategy to safeguard your physical and intellectual property.

Cristen S. Iris is the founder and CEO of Blue Mantis Press in Boise, Idaho. She is a publisher and book marketer who applies lessons learned while work­ing in risk management and insurance to everything she does.

Leave a Reply