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Traveling can be a challenging experience in and of itself, but add in a misplaced laptop and you’ve entered a whole new world of stress.Travel safety is constantly in the news and airport security measures may put you at higher risk of losing your laptop. Since you are trying to avoid those pesky baggage fees, traversing the TSA checkpoint involves juggling various plastic bins along with your carry-on. Once you’ve passed through the full-body scanner, the scramble continues. Not only are you putting your shoes, belt and jacket back on, but also reacquiring the contents of your pockets, replacing the plastic baggy of 3 oz. liquids into your suitcase, all while the bins and people keep coming at you. During that rush you may forget to put that most important device, your laptop, back into your bag. The loss of a laptop isn’t only felt through its monetary value, but also through the data that may be stored on it, especially if it contains personal data of others.
Not only can this happen to you, it did happen to me. Returning from the NARPM® convention on the last flight from Reagan National Airport last October, I discovered my laptop was missing when deplaning. I can still recall the panic at midnight on that fateful Friday night. Since the laptop bag was weighted down with materials from the show, I did not notice the absence of my laptop. After the dread subsided, I mentally retraced my steps and determined that I had failed to retrieve the laptop from a bin at the TSA security checkpoint in Washington, DC.
Finding a TSA agent at that hour was a challenge. She was pleasant, but not helpful. Once home, I conducted an online search and located a phone number for the DCA TSA office. After a seemingly eternally long number of rings I managed to talk with a TSA agent. He told me that all abandoned items were turned over to the airport lost and found department. Further research provided a phone number which I called immediately. After a number of attempts, I reached an agent who responded to the desperation in my voice. After the requisite disclaimers, he acknowledged that a device similar to my description was in the previous night’s take. Unfortunately, the lost and found office did not open until the following Monday morning. As instructed, I submitted a claim online and then battened down for a very long weekend.
In what I suspect was a move on my wife’s part to get my sorry self out of the house, was a suggestion that I fly back to Washington. I rejected this proposal only because I deemed the probability of success very low. Late Monday morning, I received a call from a very pleasant lost and found agent. She confirmed that they had my laptop and asked for a FedEx® account number. The following afternoon, the MIA laptop was back in my expectant hands with a cheerful cover letter from the agent. It was a happy ending to a very trying ordeal. I did learn a number of measures you can take to increase the chances a missing laptop is safely and quickly returned to you.
Consider the following suggestions to improve the security of your laptop:
Hopefully you have exercised the suggested measures of backing up and encrypting your data should you misplace your laptop or discover it has been stolen. Regardless, here are some additional steps to take in the event of loss:
The chances of your business every coming under the scrutiny of the IRS for a tax audit are pretty slim, but it does happen. In case it happens to your property management business, you want to make sure you’re prepared. To help, we’ve put together some tips to assist you, just in case you ever … Continue reading 5 Tips to Help You Survive a Property Management Tax Audit...read more
As a property manager, you know how important it is for your new and existing tenants to get renters insurance, but the issue is that you need to find a way to communicate that with them. While you do your best to make sure your properties are always updated and up to code, that doesn’t … Continue reading The Power of Renters Insurance...read more
In a perfect world, when you reconcile your property management bank accounts, everything checks out with the bank. Your account statements align perfectly with what your accounting software states, and you can easily check that off your long list of things to do. We all know that’s not how it works. Reconciling your accounts is … Continue reading Property Management Tips: Reconciling Your Accounts...read more
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