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Reporting Lost or Stolen Devices

From the Editor’s Desk

Rod SmithEach year I carve out time to meet with various departments, campus units and colleges. Recently, topics of discussion have been internal controls, policy, procedures, guidance and how to prevent and/or detect fraud. During my presentations, several individuals admitted that they were unaware of the requirements surrounding the proper reporting of lost or stolen equipment, especially the specifics around computers and handheld devices.

This past October, the FBI released data indicating several types of crimes were on the rise. I’ve also read reports that point to increased automobile break-ins, consequently that means theft has increased. The Society of Human Resources has reported a substantial increase in workplace fraud since 2002. In a 2019 report, it had increased 21%. As you can tell, properly securing equipment is important. This is becoming a popular topic of discussion. Various universities have been reporting on the importance of securing equipment and how to report lost or stolen goods. Teaching employees how to properly report matters is as important as the policy itself.

After meeting with several groups, I’ve noticed a relatable theme – one I raise in my presentations – which is properly reporting lost or stolen equipment. I cannot tell you how many meetings I have attended over the years. However, on numerous occasions, I witnessed unattended laptops as I walked through units en route to meetings or when I conducted planned engagements or attended conferences. I have witnessed individuals stepping away for a moment, leaving their laptops and system exposed without signing off and locking their devices. These instances prompted interesting conversations when I informed colleagues about the vulnerability of leaving devices unattended. Unfortunately, these types of practices and/or behaviors are ripe for opportunities for devices to be lost, stolen and even compromised.

For information, guidance and responsibilities for properly reporting lost or stolen electronic devices, please reference Reporting Lost or Stolen Electronic Portable Devices. As with any event, timing is crucial and understanding how to report matters is too.

by Rod Smith, Director of Internal Controls

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This is an excerpt from the Internal Controls Update newsletter, a monthly publication that provides information regarding fiscal responsibility and fraud prevention and highlights best practices for the University. All members of the University community are invited to subscribe.

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