Preventing Theft:
Use common sense to minimize risk of computer loss in airports

As we’ve all heard by now, the number of computer thefts is a concern at many airports. To prevent such theft, you should first and foremost use large amounts of common sense. Don’t leave your computer sitting on the seat when you head to the WC, and don’t allow yourself to doze off between flights without a hand (or a foot) on your computer.

Beyond common sense, many travelers have found that the best protection is a bit of camouflage. In short, you don’t want to advertise the fact that you’re packing a portable computer.

If you’re concerned about security, that padded, black carrying case that came with your computer has got to go. Find a carrying case that doesn’t scream out "computer" to every would-be thief. Find a case that looks more like a traditional briefcase or a piece of carry-on luggage.

Alternatively, you can keep using the black computer case (as they are handy and well padded). Simply make a careful purchase of carry-on bag big enough for the computer case to fit within. Or you can purchase an inner cover that is less bulky than traditional cases. (See the carrying case product review, this issue.) Such an inner case makes it easy to fit your computer in a brief case or other bag.

There’s nothing that will protect against all theft, but you can lower your chances of trouble by taking these obvious precautions. Beyond this, be sure to keep backups of files you create while on the road (storing the diskettes in a different bag or on your person) and check that your insurance covers the loss of computers outside the office and outside the country.

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