If you have a laptop or smart phone, learn how to protect it from thieves for FREE

Well, my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone was stolen from me on Friday, leaving me with no mobile phone over the weekend.  The good news is that my replacement phone arrived this morning and is good to go.  The better news is that I was able to remote wipe the phone and then report it stolen, so the thief got no use out of it and will not be able to activate it.  The bad news though is that, even though I knew about PreyProject.com, I had not installed it on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and as a result I wasn’t able to track it or send the authorities over to the dirt bags house to retrieve my phone and arrange for at least a few nights at the Bartow County Correctional facility.  At any rate, it’s a lesson learned (installing and testing PreyProject.com was one of the first things that I did on the replacement phone).  In this article, I’d like to go through the very brief process of setting up an account and installing PreyProject.com on your laptop (Windows, Mac or Linux) or smartphone (iPhone or Android).

Step one – Sign up for an account.  If you have 3 or fewer devices, PreyProject is free.  Just head over to http://www.preyproject.com and click on the Not Registered? Sign Up. link at the bottom of the page.  Choose the free account or the non-free account and fill out the form (Name, email address, country and choose a password).  A link to activate your account will be sent to the email that you provided.  I have had an account for several years (which makes it all the more embarrassing that I didn’t have it installed on my original Galaxy S3) and haven’t received SPAM from them yet).

Step two – Install PreyProject on your device.  If you’re installing it on a laptop, log into your PreyProject account and click on the Add a Device link.  You can download the software for Windows, Mac or Linux.  Double-click on the downloaded file and follow the prompts to install.  Once installed, you will be prompted to setup a new account or sign into your existing account.  Choose to sign into your existing account and it will add that device to your devices page.  If you’re installing on a mobile phone, navigate to either the iTunes store or the Google Play store (for iOS / Android devices respectively) and download the PreyProject.com app.  Sign in with your account (created in Step one) and you’re done.

The entire process should take less than 5 minutes and is a one time deal per device.  If your device is lost or stolen, simply log into your account (or, if it’s a mobile phone, send a special SMS message that you can configure from your control panel) and report it.  You will receive an email within minutes with the GPS location of the device.  You can also activate an alarm for 30 seconds (sounds like a police siren) to help you locate it and / or send an alert to the device (you set the text to send).  If the device is a laptop, you can get the same information but you can also capture screenshots, get nearby wireless hotspots or even turn on the webcam (if equipped) and start snapping pictures, presumably of the thief.