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What to Do when Your Laptop is Confiscated by Security

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 12/20/2010

It can easily happen, especially if you regularly travel or use your laptop in a busy mall. Follow these suggestions to facilitate the safe return of your laptop.

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    Be Aware of Security Precautions

    In an increasingly security-conscious society, travelling by air has come under the microscope as a potential threat. This can prove to be a problem for some frequent flyers, particularly those carrying electronic equipment such as a laptop or tablet computer.

    For security personnel to be performing the job properly, they need to be aware of potential threats and check them out – which is why your portable computer might come under scrutiny. If your laptop is confiscated by security, you need to be aware of what might happen next and how to react accordingly.

    Note that while this is most likely to take place in an airport, your equipment might even be confiscated in a high security building or even in a shopping mall, depending on the circumstances.

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    Laptop Confiscated by Security? Stay Calm

    Has your laptop been confiscated by security? Remember that the security team are doing a job and they have to consider every possibility. You may or may not be suspected of being a threat – rather, you might be a potential target, and checking your laptop if a way for the security operatives to eliminate you from this possibility.

    The chances are that whatever scans are made on your data and laptop will not take too long so it is imperative that you remain calm. Getting irritated and causing a scene isn’t going to help anybody, and the security staff – who see thousands of customers every day – are not going to take lightly to someone causing a fuss. In fact they might just take even longer to return your laptop.

    (Image via apple.com)

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    Stay Courteous

    As well as remaining calm, you should be absolutely courteous at all times and avoid criticising the security staff. Their job is potentially extremely stressful – their job is to ensure that no individual can cause a threat to either the flight or the other passengers.

    It is important to observe that working under these conditions under the repeated notice from government and security service analysts that an attack is imminent can be quite fatiguing. These people ultimately have to earn a living so you can stay on their good side and hopefully expedite the return of your computer if you remain polite and courteous. Don’t be over-friendly and don’t repeatedly approach the security personnel with questions.

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    Get Around Data Loss

    There is always a chance that your computer will not be returned. There is also a chance that in confiscating it the security personnel damage it.

    While this might seem like a good time to kick up a fuss, the most important thing you can do at this stage is investigate your insurance options. After all, you will have made provision for any potential data loss by utilising online backup services and posting a copy of your vital data through snail mail to your destination.