Absolute Investigations May & June Roundup: Device Recovery Success Stories

By: Sarah Brooks | 6/10/2021 | 5 min read

Summer has arrived and that usually marks the start of more travel for a lot of people, particularly this year as improvements continue and restrictions ease around COVID-19. Where people go, so too do their laptops which inevitably means a rise in the number of missing devices. As employees hit the road this summer season, do you have a plan to ensure the safety of your device fleet?

Absolute customers benefit from a firmware-embedded endpoint defense platform to strengthen security of the devices and the data found on them. It enables an undeletable digital tether to every endpoint and allows them to lock, freeze, or wipe the device if it falls into the wrong hands.

They also have the support of the Absolute Investigations Team. With years of experience working with law enforcement, their work has resulted in many impressive device recoveries. Here are a few of the most recent highlights.

Good Samaritans

A man in Dallas, Texas found a laptop near his backyard pool that had a ‘If Found, call Absolute’ sticker on it. He called the number and left his contact information along with the device serial number. It was determined the device was owned by a local school district and they were notified by Absolute. The device was safely returned to the district.

Insider Theft

A hospital in Greenville, South Carolina reported a missing laptop to Absolute Investigators. Forensic tools helped investigators locate the device and the user and this information was provided via an Investigative Summary to local police. Officers executed a search warrant and the identified location and, despite all the serial number stickers being pulled off the device, they were able to find and recover it. The alleged thief, a hospital employee, was charged with Grand Larceny and the Absolute customer is very happy with the outcome. Return of the stolen property was handled by the healthcare security team.

Auto Burglaries

Several Absolute customers fell victim to auto burglaries in recent months, including one that was stolen out of a school district employee’s vehicle in Houston, Texas. Not long after the theft, the laptop came back online and Absolute investigators determined it was being used from an apartment complex not far from where the break-in occurred. Absolute forensic tools revealed the end users' name, email address and place of employment. This information was forwarded to the Houston Police Department and detectives were able to recover the stolen laptop and return it to the school district.

 

Another employee of an Absolute customer that manages IT for a law firm was traveling with his laptop when his car was broken into while in Miami. Absolute investigators were notified, as was local law enforcement and a police report was filed. Using forensic tools, investigators discovered the new user and provided the necessary contact information to police. They also emailed the new user to explain the device was stolen. The new user responded and said he had purchased the device online for $1,300 but would arrange to return it to police. The user failed to return the device as promised so Absolute Investigators instituted a device freeze. The new user then sent it to Dell asking that the Absolute program be deleted from the machine. Absolute investigators then worked with Dell support services to prove the device was stolen, using initial purchase receipts and the police report. Dell wiped the device and sent it overnight to the original and rightful owner.

 

An Absolute customer employee in Spring, Texas was the victim of an auto burglary and a laptop was stolen. Absolute Investigators went to work and discovered the device was now being used in Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico. Investigators passed the information along to the Absolute LATAM team who communicated with the new user and then instituted a device freeze. Ultimately, the new user agreed to ship the device back to the rightful owner in Texas and they are very happy with the results.  

Armed Robbery

An Absolute government customer in South Africa had a laptop stolen during an armed robbery. Using forensic tools, Absolute Investigators were able to determine the new user’s contact information, including business name, address, and mobile number. The information was provided to Absolute’s recovery partner in the area who then discovered there was no business in the stated location. The recovery agent called the mobile phone number however and heard it ringing a few doors down. When he called out the new user’s name, this person responded and then cooperated in handing over the laptop. The device has been returned to the Absolute customer.

Home Burglary

A laptop was stolen during a home burglary of one of Absolute’s financial services customers in Kentucky. Absolute Investigators went to work when the device went back online and could see that the new user was watching videos and searching for photos and mugshots yet information on where this user resided was not available. He was obviously trying to keep a low profile online. After some digging in social media, investigators determined who the individual’s family members were, and where they lived, which happened to be very close to where geolocation said the device would be. The information was provided to local police who then went to the home and recovered the device. The Absolute customer has since received the device and they are thrilled with the results.  

Also read: Absolute Investigations April Roundup

For more than 15 years, Absolute Investigations has helped organizations recover their stolen devices. Made up of former law enforcement professionals and other experts, Absolute Investigations uses forensics tools and techniques to locate devices at large and once found, they connect with local law enforcement to orchestrate their safe return. Learn more here.

 

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