Mobile device security for laptops, tablets and smartphones

Laptops, tablets, and smartphones are targets for theft, mainly because of their small size (they can be easily stolen) and their relative value. Mobile devices are a market for easy cash through used-computer equipment stores and pawn shops.

If your laptop or smartphone is stolen, criminals may have access to personal information, financial information, and other sensitive data. They may then choose to use that information for personal gain and identity theft.

How to avoid becoming a victim

  • Always secure your devices. Don’t leave cellphones, computers or tablets in your vehicle, even if it is locked – especially in plain sight. If you must leave your devices in your vehicle, store them in the trunk or try to conceal them in a locked glove compartment or elsewhere in the vehicle where they cannot be seen.
  • Keep your devices in your bag or briefcase. Better yet, if the device is small enough, keep it in your pocket when you are walking or out in public.
  • Do not leave your devices unattended in a meeting or conference room. 
  • Use locking devices, such as cable locks, to secure a mobile device to a larger, permanent structure in your office.
  • Ensure that all your devices have a unique log-in. Don’t use the same password for different devices.
  • Ensure that devices log-off after a short period of inactivity. 
  • Regularly back up all important information and data that is on your mobile devices.
  • Always be mindful of your mobile devices, especially when flying and sending your devices through the X-ray scanner at the airport. Airport scams often include criminals working in pairs. One will pass through the scanner quickly, while the second scammer will hold up the line. In this example, the first scammer will then pick up a laptop or mobile device as if it belongs to him/her and walk away while the other scammer continues the distraction. To avoid this scam, only put your mobile device on the conveyor belt when it is your turn to go through the X-ray scanner. Alert security staff if you believe your device is in danger of being taken.
  • Be careful when leaving the store with any newly released mobile device that you purchase. These newly released electronics are often more vulnerable to being stolen. They are usually highly sought and more expensive, making them more valuable to the criminals as well. Try to avoid shopping and leaving a store alone or late at night.
  • If a theft of your mobile device does occur, report it immediately to the local police. Keep a record of the make, model, and serial number of each of your devices so that the police can file a complete report. They can then enter the information into the stolen electronic device database.  
  • Work with the local police on measures to recover your device. The police may ask you to contact your provider to have your cellphone or cell-enabled device “bricked.” This can make the device(s) essentially worthless to the criminal.

Additional information

Many local police departments and the Department of Homeland Security have regularly updated tips and information on protecting and preventing theft of mobile devices.

Check your local law enforcement for recent updates and any news on mobile device criminal activity in your area or where you may be traveling.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage or guarantee loss prevention. The examples in this material are provided as hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations contained herein will make any premises, or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. By providing this information to you. The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.


LC 2022-227