A common method of laptop theft involves two perpetrators cooperating at an airport security checkpoint. Perpetrator A is already past the metal detector. As you approach the checkpoint and unload your laptop bag onto the conveyor belt, perpetrator B walks ahead of you to the metal detector, as is the custom with people carrying no luggage. Perpetrator B's gold chains, keys, or other metal objects trigger the alarm and delay your passage. Perhaps Perpetrator B's behavior causes a distraction. While you're distracted, perpetrator A walks away with your laptop.

To combat this type of theft, you must remain alert. Many business travelers request a hand search, which bypasses the conveyor belt and ensures that your laptop never leaves your sight. Another solution is to purchase a proximity alarm, which sounds whenever you become separated from your laptop.

Thieves also commonly steal unattended laptops from hotel rooms and hotel conference rooms. The best solution to this type of theft is a cable lock, which you can use to anchor your laptop to a desktop or table. You can find proximity alarms and cable locks on the Web at the Anti-Theft Computer Superstore (http://www.anti-theftdevices.com/index.html). This Web site also offers the brief but useful A Theft Prevention Guide for Office Equipment.