The distraction scheme. Many of us do it. You want to get out of the house or office and find a relaxed setting like a coffee shop to surf the internet or work with your expensive notebook computer or other electronic device. At some point you’re ready to use the restroom, grab a cup of coffee or snack, but then think about the hassle it would be to take your computer with you. You decide to leave it behind thinking it will just be a minute before you come back to your table and other socializing nearby will notice and come to your assistance if you’re a victim of computer theft. While your intent may be to step from your device for a moment you may be distracted by activity going on around you…sometimes intentionally.

As a former law enforcement officer and current CT private investigator I am aware of a tactic used by criminals which involves two or more people working in tandem with each other against their target to commit theft of computers and other portable devices electronic devices.

In the coffee shop scenario when you get up to use the restroom or purchase a store item one perpetrator may engage you seemingly in an innocent way, but their true motive is to purposely draw you into a distracting conversation. For example, rather than asking a simple question, such as the time of day or what the “must have” store item is, the perpetrator asks for directions to a local attraction or highway in an attempt to get you to think deeper, thereby taking your mind off your computer or electronic device. While one perpetrator distracts you their “partner in crime” walks off with your electronic device… and now you’re a victim of computer theft. Even if your electronic device wasn’t stolen, maybe an external thumb drive storing sensitive information such as passwords and personal information was taken.

Enjoy the time away from work or home, but take it from a CT private investigator who has received many calls from victims of theft. Avoid that “sinking feeling” often associated when something valuable is missing by resisting the temptation to leave your valuables at a table.  Your wallet will thank you.