TAMPA - Every day, millions of Americans log in and, in doing so, leave a path of personal information on their computers.
Diane White runs a full-service marketing and public relations company, working with clients all over the country. Everywhere she goes, so does her laptop.
"If it gets stolen, I would like to get it back quickly because everything I have is on there," said White.
White is looking into getting protective tracking software installed. It's not a new service. But experts say it has become increasingly popular
Several months ago, a business was broken into. It turned out it was the cleaning crew.
Using tracking software from the stolen computers, detectives were able to recover all the computers and arrest the thieves.
It worked this time because the victims immediately activated the software and informed police at the scene.
Police say they want to focus on getting the culprit. So whenever a crime is reported and you have a program like that, they urge victims to activate it immediately. That increases the chances that police will catch the thief.
"If a thief were to steal your laptop and it has important info on it and they never connect to internet, the program's no good," said Damon Doremus, who is with Geek Rescue.
The most popular tracking software he gets asked to install is Lojack for Laptops.
A victim can log into software via web interface and send a command to delete the entire computer drive. A victim can even send a command to open up the camera and get a look at the crook's face.
If you have Apple products, chances are you already have tracking software.
Using iCloud, you can send a command to "find my iPhone" or "find my computer." You can even wipe the device clean.
In order to really keep your personal information safe, however, experts recommend encrypting drives.
There is a free tool out there called True Crypt that allows you to encrypt an entire drive or specific information on the drive.
Again it's the data that's more important, not the laptop itself.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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