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Stolen 15" Macbook Pro 2.4ghz
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AlbanianGenome
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Jun 5, 2009, 12:55 PM
 
Due to an unfortunate series of events my laptop was stolen from a cafe here in Portland, OR the other day. I still can't believe it happened, but I was curious if anyone else here knows of anything I should do besides the obvious police report and reporting it to powermax's online stolen database. Does Apple keep a log of stolen computers like PowerMax? It would be nice if they did so if someone came in to try and service the computer it would record the serial at that point. I still have the serial to my machine, is there any other way I could possibly track down the serial and location of the computer if it connects to the internet? Are there any sites or things we do on a day to day that would record that information? Any thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated. If this is also being posted in the wrong forum, please redirect it for me, thank you in advance.
     
turtle777
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Jun 5, 2009, 01:00 PM
 
Man, that sucks.

Does your insurance cover it ?
Do you have backups of your stuff ?

Can't really help with your original question.

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Big Mac
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Jun 5, 2009, 01:01 PM
 
Sorry about that. Unless you have an anti-theft app there isn't much you can do to locate a stolen Mac.

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AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 5, 2009, 01:20 PM
 
some backups, no insurance, tons of personal information on stickies, address book, mail.app. Really is scary to think about how much information a person has once they steal your computer.
     
AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 5, 2009, 01:22 PM
 
that is what I was afraid of, and I am hoping I hear something that says otherwise though What does everyone think about the lo-jack app? If someone erases the operating system once they steal it, doesnt that really become useless?
     
hatehereyes
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Jun 5, 2009, 01:23 PM
 
I think you can go to Apple and report it stolen, then if it were to be brought in for repairs then they would report it.

but I've also heard of stories about the employees not saying anything about it.

I guess it couldn't hurt.

There's also this other program that once the mac is reported stolen it keeps track of the computer use and takes pictures.
I can't remember the name of it exactly right now but I'm sure someone here knows it.


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Jun 5, 2009, 01:29 PM
 
That happened to me last year. (Not the coffee shop part, but a 15" 2.4 Ghz MacBook pro was stolen). Assuming you didn't take mine ( LOL ) then I have all the sympathy in the world for you.

I always encrypt my drives now religiously to ensure that in these events my data is safe. You should always use Time Machine also on portable Macs.

Yes, report it to the police. I think there is a web-site that you can register the serial number on as well. (Not that it helped me).

I still have not had the funds / opportunity to replace mine. (Using a very good work Dell E6400 now, but it runs Win7, not quite OSX)
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Jun 5, 2009, 01:32 PM
 
There are apps out there to log the IP addresses to which a computer connects to, right? Anyone know what the names of them are?

There's also an app that snaps a picture as soon as the computer starts.

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Jun 5, 2009, 01:34 PM
 
With the encryption I had there was no way for a thief to start up the computer and run any apps to do any of that. I know the computer never again registered a sync with .Mac (now MobileMe) since that occurred.
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AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 5, 2009, 06:49 PM
 
someone at the apple store said doing a firmware password, not sure how to do that, or what that does exactly, anyone have a clue?
     
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Jun 5, 2009, 07:52 PM
 
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AKcrab
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Jun 5, 2009, 08:13 PM
 
Doesn't protect you if someone has physical access to the machine. (And they have google..)
     
Captain Obvious
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Jun 5, 2009, 08:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by hatehereyes View Post
I think you can go to Apple and report it stolen, then if it were to be brought in for repairs then they would report it.

Wrong.
Apple does not keep a record of stole computers.


There are several thing you could have done to lock down the laptop so only you could access it or anti-theft programs to recover it when gone but since none of that was done all you can do is hope the police recover it someday. They probably won't but there's always a small chance.

Take the experience as a life lesson.

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AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 5, 2009, 10:50 PM
 
so you can still get around an open firmware password with the help of google? Geez, sounds like there isn't much you can do to protect your machine these days except never leave it out of sight. I still did not hear back from anyone on that lojack option, seems it would be useless if someone just erased the hard drive, as that reporting tool would then be gone. Any other thoughts or suggestions about a program or website that would log the actual serial number from a laptop when connecting?
     
ctt1wbw
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Jun 6, 2009, 06:41 AM
 
I've heard stories of people using Back To My Mac and tracking the miscreants that way. They even took pics of the faces via the webcam and then tracked the laptop. They eventually got caught and the owner got his Mac back. That may be why it's called Back To My Mac.
     
residentEvil
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Jun 6, 2009, 09:43 AM
 
did you ask the cafe manager/owner if they have video surveillance?

around here, even mom and pop stores have EVERYTHING being recorded; cash drawers, entrances/exits, public seating, etc.
     
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Jun 6, 2009, 11:10 AM
 
consider him to be a not so smart thief who is curious about your data. He will start the MBP and check your email, email will automaticly import emails after the application is started and the MBP is connected to internet.
You can find out if he checked your mail if emails are missing, you might want to send yourself an email with an attractive title like "password American Express" . If it ends up "read" you know you have to change passwords asap. If it doesn't end up "read" in a few days time you can be sure the MBP was erased and reinstalled.
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driven
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Jun 6, 2009, 01:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by PB2K View Post
consider him to be a not so smart thief who is curious about your data. He will start the MBP and check your email, email will automaticly import emails after the application is started and the MBP is connected to internet.
You can find out if he checked your mail if emails are missing, you might want to send yourself an email with an attractive title like "password American Express" . If it ends up "read" you know you have to change passwords asap. If it doesn't end up "read" in a few days time you can be sure the MBP was erased and reinstalled.
I'd change the password anyway. Why take chances?
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AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 6, 2009, 02:52 PM
 
oh yeah, first thing I did was change all my email passwords since mail.app had all my stuff loaded in and he would have been able to check all my new incoming mail. I really have done everything I can think of to lock it down, reward posters, warnings on craigslist, police report, powermax stolen list report, juststolen.net signup, so I am just hoping someone calls at some point and lets me know they have it.
     
PB2K
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Jun 6, 2009, 03:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
I'd change the password anyway. Why take chances?
i know, it's just good to know if someone is messing with your private data or just wants to sell the hardware.
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Big Mac
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Jun 7, 2009, 02:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by AlbanianGenome View Post
so you can still get around an open firmware password with the help of google? Geez, sounds like there isn't much you can do to protect your machine these days except never leave it out of sight. I still did not hear back from anyone on that lojack option, seems it would be useless if someone just erased the hard drive, as that reporting tool would then be gone. Any other thoughts or suggestions about a program or website that would log the actual serial number from a laptop when connecting?
Regarding firmware passwords, they protect the computer only until the person finds out how to disable the password by going into the hardware internals. A principle of computer security is that once a person has unrestricted physical access, everything that isn't encrypted can be easily defeated.

Regarding the security software you see advertised, it works by transmitting the location of the computer and other information to the user. A savvy crook would reformat a drive, disabling that protection.

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goMac
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Jun 7, 2009, 03:33 AM
 
They usually show up on Craigslist here in PDX.
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AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 7, 2009, 07:09 PM
 
goMac, if you find it, you get a $500 reward It is a refurbished model, so the serial is going to be pretty unique, RM8217QQYJX , I am still keeping my eyes out on multiple locations, hoping something appears sooner than later.
     
olePigeon
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Jun 8, 2009, 11:51 AM
 
You can tell Apple that it was stolen and they'll flag the SN. If someone buys it online or takes it in to repair it, the service department won't release it.
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driven
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Jun 8, 2009, 11:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
You can tell Apple that it was stolen and they'll flag the SN. If someone buys it online or takes it in to repair it, the service department won't release it.
No. They won't. I tried this. Apple does not track stolen serial numbers.

How to report lost or stolen Apple product?
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olePigeon
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Jun 8, 2009, 11:54 AM
 
Also, I know this is after the fact, but:

http://www.orbicule.com/undercover/

Some pretty cool software. If your laptop is stolen, you report the SN to Orbicule. They'll flag it stolen and it'll activate the software. It'll take random screen shots, random pictures from the iSight camera, capture network information, triangulate the physical location via WiFi triangulation (if they're on public wifi), and email all the information back to Orbicule.

If it doesn't receive that information after a predetermined amount of time, the software will simulate a hardware failure in hopes that the person will take it into an Apple store to have to fixed.

It also doesn't have a monthly fee like LoJack.
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olePigeon
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Jun 8, 2009, 11:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
No. They won't. I tried this. Apple does not track stolen serial numbers.

How to report lost or stolen Apple product?
Interesting, I've been told the exact opposite by an Apple sales rep. Maybe it depends on the Apple Store. Also, I have CoconutIdentity Card which will look up a SN to see if it's stolen. There's obviously some sort of open and centralized database for stolen Macs.
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olePigeon
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Jun 8, 2009, 12:00 PM
 
Here's a tip, and this recovered a lost laptop in less than 48 hours for a coworker:

Check eBay and Craigslist for sales in the Portland area. eMail the people selling the computer if they can send you the serial number so you can "verify that the hardware configuration is accurate."

Might find your laptop.
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AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 8, 2009, 03:22 PM
 
I would like to update everyone that has participated in this forum on what has happened. I just called Apple and they registered my product and made a stolen report and gave me a case # that I have to attach to my police report. They said that if someone were to call up to try to register it or do anything with that serial, this stolen report will pull up. I am hoping this is the case, and she says that it is applicable to Apple Retail Stores. I am really happy to hear this is what Apple does, and that I was not given the run around.

On a side note, when it comes to all this security software and password protecting it seems that a) if the person has physical access to the machine they will be able to bypass any protection that has been put on it, via resetting passwords, or just erasing the machine before even using it. There was a program that was out there called iAlertU, but I cant find a download for it, basically puts an alarm on your laptop like a car alarm, someone tries to pick it up the alarm goes off, and really loud. That seems like the best piece of software out there to prevent the type of theft that I have experienced. I am hoping this laptop still shows up sometime soon. I have been watching craigslist and ebay, and since my machine was a refurb, has even a more unique serial than others, so far, all serials that have been sent to me are retail models, but then again, a smart thief might just give you a different serial over email to throw you off, ::sigh::
     
goMac
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Jun 8, 2009, 03:58 PM
 
Where in PDX was your laptop stolen from? I hear of a lot of machines getting stolen from coffee shops here. Not a good city for laptops...

Edit: Oh, heh, you said cafe. Any specifics? Location?
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AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 8, 2009, 09:45 PM
 
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AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 8, 2009, 09:47 PM
 
to make matters even worse, I had some guy call me up and say he has my laptop and read off my serial, and then wanted me to wire him money before he sent it, saying he was in Chicago and was a truck driver. I call him back a few minutes ago, because I refused to do that, and the number is no longer in service. Seems I am in the world of scumbags now trying to rip of someone who has already been violated, pretty amazed everyday how some people are.
     
driven
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Jun 8, 2009, 09:49 PM
 
Don't wire him money. You STILL won't get your laptop back.
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AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 8, 2009, 10:27 PM
 
yeah, I just called the number again, and it is now disconnected. Someone trying to scam me on top of already being scammed, some people, this is one big learning lesson I can say that much. I really appreciate everyone's advice and input on this forum, it has been really nice to have a place to reflect with this whole thing.
     
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Jun 8, 2009, 10:31 PM
 
Wow. That's some of the lamest crap I've ever heard of someone go through over a laptop. You could at least put that phone number and incident in the police report. Perhaps the guy was dumb enough to call from a phone registered to someone, rather than a pre-paid.

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Jun 9, 2009, 01:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by AlbanianGenome View Post
On a side note, when it comes to all this security software and password protecting it seems that a) if the person has physical access to the machine they will be able to bypass any protection that has been put on it, via resetting passwords, or just erasing the machine before even using it.
It's more important to protect any sensitive information and passwords and so on that a thief could use to do further damage. I store my private stuff on encrypted disk images with long passwords. It won't be easy for a thief to get at that.
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AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 9, 2009, 05:18 AM
 
yeah you can bet in the future, I will not be keeping any important info on the computer, all pw protected, or even better, away from my computer.
     
ctt1wbw
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Jun 9, 2009, 06:50 AM
 
I wonder if Apple will implement the Find My iPhone feature into Snow Leopard. Find My Mac might do the same thing from your iPhone. You can send a command to it to erase everything the next time it's booted up....
     
residentEvil
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Jun 9, 2009, 07:34 AM
 
chances are, since you posted the serial number on those sites, someone is simply calling random posters and reading back the serial numbers in hopes one of them will wire the money.
     
AlbanianGenome  (op)
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Jun 9, 2009, 09:43 AM
 
yeah resident, that is basically what we deduced it down to, and he got pretty angry that I wasn't buying the scheme. Number was disconnected shortly proving that this guy was a scam. I am still holding out hope for my machine, hopefully if pops up, I just don't see myself buying a new machine for awhile since all the machines out now are no better than my old unit. I might wait until another refresh, so what would that be, another 8 months
     
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Jun 9, 2009, 10:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by AlbanianGenome View Post
yeah resident, that is basically what we deduced it down to, and he got pretty angry that I wasn't buying the scheme. Number was disconnected shortly proving that this guy was a scam. I am still holding out hope for my machine, hopefully if pops up, I just don't see myself buying a new machine for awhile since all the machines out now are no better than my old unit. I might wait until another refresh, so what would that be, another 8 months
That's what I said back in December. Not sure when I'm going to replace mine yet. My company bought me this Dell (which, OS aside is a pretty bad ass laptop .. and it cost me nothing.) I'm using the G5 for my Mac fix at home. Eventually I'll replace my Macbook Pro, but not sure when.
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