Has someone has ever swiped your camera or cell phone? Have you carelessly left an expensive electronic device in a restaurant or on a train?
Now new technology allows people to track and recover their lost or stolen gadgets.
Alison Delauzon, a working mom who loves to take pictures of her son Will, left her camera bag in a Florida restaurant earlier this year. When Delauzon realized it, she called the restaurant, but by that time, it was gone and more than $1,500 worth of equipment was lost.
But a few days later the digital photos that were lost with the camera were posted to Delauzon's online photo account.
Delauzon's camera had a special type of memory card called the Eye-Fi, which automatically uploads pictures to the Internet when it comes in contact with a wireless network.
But the biggest surprise for Delauzon was seeing pictures of two strangers, along with the photos of her son.
"Not only were they pictures of the guys who stole my camera, they were actually holding my big digital SLR, which is like a thousand dollar camera and I am like, 'Oh my God!' So now I'm jumping around my office going, 'What do we do, what do we do?'" Delauzon said.
She sent the pictures to the restaurant where she'd last seen her camera, and the man in the photo was identified as its head waiter. Her camera was returned immediately. She decided not to press charges, but the waiter was fired.
Finding Tracking Software
Delauzon wasn't aware her camera was equipped with the memory card, so it's a good idea to check if your electronics come with any tracking programs. If that's not the case, you may want to consider installing a security program.
The company that created the Lojack system, which traces stolen vehicles, has come out with the LoJack for Laptops.
If your computer is connected to the Internet, the LoJack software sends a message to a monitoring center staffed by a "theft recovery team" that, according to the company's Web site, will not only find the location of the computer but help local law enforcement officers recover it.
GadgetTrak is another tracking program that will contact you if your iPod, laptop or cell phone falls into the wrong hands. The service costs $13 a year.