My computer (or smartphone or tablet) was stolen! Now what?

This article provides information on how to respond when your computer, smartphone, tablet or other computing device is stolen.

First Things First

We recommend that you report the theft to the local authorities and attempt to get a police report on file. Make sure to get the report number.

Secondly, please contact both the administrative staff for your department and LS IT to report the theft.

Thirdly, if the stolen equipment was the property of UC Davis, you will also need to file a Property Loss Report with UC Davis Risk Management.

How to Proceed

There are a number of factors that determine how you should proceed:

Do you have Prey, Find My Mac (or iPhone or iPad) or another application/service installed on your device that allows you to locate and/or remotely wipe your device?

If you do, we highly recommend that you immediately use the tool to at least lock your device. If you think that it is unlikely that you will get your device back, then we recommend that you initiate a remote wipe to at least prevent your data and possibly your identity from being stolen.

If you do not have one of these services installed, it is sometimes possible for LS IT to remotely install one of these services. Please contact LS IT to determine whether this is a possibility.

Where did the theft take place, and were there any clear signs of forced entry?

If the theft occurred on campus or at a satellite UC Davis location, the campus has a self insurance program. If there are clear signs of forced entry, the insurance deductible is $1,000. If there are no signs of forced entry, the deductible is $5,000. This program covers only University-owned property, not personally-owned property. Unfortunately, this means that the UC Davis insurance is typically only useful when a large amount of equipment has been stolen, and especially when there are clear signs of forced entry. For on-campus thefts, call the UC Davis Police Department immediately (530-752-1727) to file a police report. In order to pursue coverage under the University self insurance program, you will also need to file a Property Loss Report with UC Davis Risk Management.

If the theft occurred while traveling, unfortunately the UC travel insurance does not cover laptops while on domestic travel. However, for international travel there is coverage available up to a maximum $500 per trip limit. In the event of a loss, you will need to file both a Police report and a Property Loss Report. Note that this coverage can also apply to lost luggage.

If the theft occurred from your home or personal office, the insurance mentioned above for on campus theft applies, but is secondary to any coverage afforded by your homeowners’ or renters' policy. Risk Management will need to obtain a copy of your homeowners claim determination before being able to consider the loss under University self insurance program. If the stolen equipment is property of UC Davis, you will need to file a Property Loss Report with UC Davis Risk Management.

Important note: if the stolen equipment is property of UC Davis, and you are reimbursed by your personal homeowners' or renters' insurance policy, the money that is reimbursed for the UC property must be turned over to UC Davis.

For smartphones and tablets only (NOT laptops), do you have the device configured to use the campus uConnect Exchange service?

If your email account is on Office 365 (this includes most LS IT supported faculty and staff)

  1. Log into
  2. Click the gear icon in the upper right, and select Options.
  3. From the menu on the left, go to General > Mobile Devices.
  4. Select the iPad, then click the Wipe Device icon (looks like an eraser over a mobile phone).
  5. Click Yes on the “Wipe Device?” dialog.

Minimize Risks from Theft

Overall, we have found that most stolen property is not recovered, even when we are able to provide police with specific information. Consequently, we recommend that you:

  • Ensure that Full Disk Encryption is enabled on your devices.
    • Encryption is enabled for LS IT managed devices, but we also recommend it for personally-owned devices.
    • Use BitLocker for Windows and FileVault2 for Mac.
    • Ensure that any portable media like USB flash drives, backup drives, etc. that contain sensitive data are also encrypted!
  • Use Prey, Find My Mac (or iPhone or iPad) so that you have the option to remotely wipe your device.
  • Have good backups, whether in the cloud or to an external disk. 

You can find details and more tips here:

Contact Information

UC Davis Police Department

Non-emergency phone: 530-752-1727

UC Davis Safety Services-Risk Management (administers UC insurance programs)

LS IT Service Center

530-752-8800, lshelp@ucdavis.edu