As students across the nation make their way back to school, many will carry cell phones, iPads, iPods, laptops and other electronic devices everywhere from the classroom to the car. Better Business Bureau reminds students and their parents to talk about ways to keep electronics out of the wrong hands.
College campuses, cafeterias, local hang outs and even classrooms can be an easy target for those looking to snatch expensive electronic devices. Not only can thieves steal your personal property, they could gain access to sensitive information such as emails, text messages, calendars, photos and even social media network logins.
“Students need to be vigilant when it comes to securing their electronics,” said Stephen A. Cox, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Electronics are a huge investment and they shouldn’t be treated any differently than carrying around a wad of cash.”
BBB offers the following advice to students and parents on how to keep personal property safe at school:
Keep it off the floor. No matter where you are in public — a large study hall in school, a conference, a coffee shop, or a registration desk — avoid putting your electronics on the floor. If you must put it down, place it between your feet or at least up against your leg, so that you’re aware of it.
Leave it at home. In some cases, school districts may have strict policies about students bringing electronic devices to campus. Be sure to find out what is allowed while on campus and in the classroom. Also, determine if you really need your electronics during school hours or if they can wait until you get home.
Get it out of the car. Don’t leave your electronics in the car — not on the seat, not in the trunk. Parked cars are a favorite target of thieves; don’t help them by leaving your property unattended.
Don’t leave it “for just a minute.” Your classmates seem trustworthy, so you’re comfortable leaving your electronics on the table while you go outside for a break. The people at the coffee shop seem nice, so you ask them to keep an eye out while you use the restroom. Don’t leave your laptop, iPad or other tablets unguarded — even for a minute.
Use bells and whistles. Depending on your security needs, an alarm can be a useful tool. Some laptop alarms sound when there’s unexpected motion, or when the computer moves outside a specified range around you. Or consider a kind of “lo-jack” for your laptop: a program that reports the location of your stolen laptop once it’s connected to the Internet.
For more consumer tips and news you can trust, visit BBB’s news center at www.bbb.org/us/bbb-news.