Identity Theft Crime Prevention Tips
It is estimated that over 500,000 people will fall victim to identity theft this year. Criminals use a variety of methods to steal Social Security Numbers (SSN), driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, ATM cards, telephone calling cards, and other pieces of information like your birth date or address.
There are two types of identity theft. An account takeover occurs when a thief gets your credit account information and purchases products &/or services by physically using your card at a business, simply entering the number and expiration number on line, or reading the numbers over the phone.
Application Fraud is when a criminal uses your SSN and other information to open new accounts in your name.
You cannot totally prevent identity theft, but you can reduce your risk of fraud.
- Do not carry extra credit cards, your Social Security card, birth certificate or passport in your wallet or purse. On campus – store your wallet in a safe & secure place.
- Reduce the number of credit cards you actively use. Cancel unused accounts. Don’t fill out credit applications just to get the “free gift”!
- Always put your credit card receipts in your wallet rather than in the shopping bag.
- Keep a list or photocopy of all your credit cards, bank accounts, & investments in a secure place. Make sure you have the phone number to call to report each stolen card.
- Never give out your SSN, credit card numbers or other personal information over the phone, by mail, or on the Internet unless you have a trusted business relationship and you have initiated the call.
- Remove your name from the marketing lists of the four credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, Novus/Innovis, and Trans Union. Call 1-888-5OPTOUT. This will limit the number of pre-approved credit offers you receive, and remove a potential target for identity thieves who use them to order credit cards in your name.
- Check your credit report at least once a year. If you become a victim of identity theft, you can catch it early buy checking your credit report regularly.
Participate in privacy! Only you can reduce your risk of identity theft.
For more information, visit the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse at http://www.privacyrights.org/index.htm.
Adapted from: Think Federal Credit Union Prime Time Connections
Personal Safety and Responsibility Tips
The cooperation and involvement of students, faculty, and staff in any campus safety program is absolutely necessary. All members of the university community must assume responsibility for their own safety and the security of their property by taking simple, common-sense precautions.
Although the campus is well lighted, community members, male or female, will find safety in numbers and should practice walking with a companion or in groups at night.
The doors of resident rooms and offices should remain locked.
Valuables should be marked with a personal identification number in case of loss or theft.
Bicycles should be properly secured when not in use.
Use S.A.F.E (Student Association for Escorts) for a safety escort anywhere on campus. Call ext 2111.
When walking to the parking lot, have your keys ready and watch for suspicious persons or activities.
Avoid leaving keys in the car ignition and valuables on the seat. Lock all valuables, CB radios, walkmans, laptop computers, cameras, briefcases, book bags, etc., in the trunk.
Automobiles should be locked.
Never leave books or personal items unattended in campus buildings.
Ride Sharing Safey Tips
Follow these tips when using non-university ride-share programs:
- Request and wait for your ride inside. This prevents you from standing outside unnecessarily with a phone in your hand, signaling to passing motorists that you're waiting for someone to pick you up. Instead, follow your driver on GPS (if available) and wait until the driver is close before going outside.
- Visusally confirm vehical info/descriptions and driver's name. Pay attention to the make, model and color of the car, as well as the driver's name and photo. Make sure to match the license plat number on your screen to the one you see in real life.
- Ride in the backseat. If you are riding alone, ride in the back seat. This provides more personal space, and ensures you can get out on either side of the vehicle to avoide traffic.
- Share your trip details with a friend. Both Lyft and Unber let you quickly and easily share who your driver is, where you're going, and when you're supposed to get there. Look for the "share status" option in the Uber app and the "send ETA" option in the Lyft app.
- Follow your intiution. If you feel unsafe, leave the are and contact authorities by calling 911 immediately.
Auto Theft Prevention Tips
Over one million vehicles - cars trucks, buses, motorcycles, and trailers — are stolen every year. More than 1.6 million vehicles were stolen in 1990 at an estimated national cost of over eight billion dollars.
Protect Your Vehicle
- Lock your car and pocket the key when you leave, even if just for a minute. Close windows all the way and make sure the trunk is locked.
- Control your keys. Never leave an identification tag on your key ring. If your keys are lost or stolen , it could help a thief locate your car and burglarize your home.
- Don't leave your registration inside your vehicle; carry it with you. Important identification papers or credit cards should never be left in the glove compartment.
- If carrying packages or valuable items, store them in your trunk, if possible. If you do leave packages, clothing or other articles in the car, make sure they are out of sight.
- Park in well lit, busy areas. Avoid leaving your vehicle in unattended parking lots for long periods of time. If you park in a lot where you must leave a key, leave the ignition only, to protect items in the trunk or glove box.
- When buying a car, ask about anti-theft options such as steering column locks, alarms, switches that interrupt the fuel or electronic systems, and locks for tape decks, batteries and gas tanks. Many insurance companies offer reduced rates to owners who install security devices.
- Keep your car's vehicle identification number (VIN) and a complete description in a safe place at home. Since 1969, the federal government has required manufacturers to engrave a unique number, the VIN, on all passenger cars in one visible and several hidden locations. One VIN is engraved on a metal plate on the dashboard near the windshield. VINs of stolen cars are registered with the FBI's National Crime Information Center.
Bicycles, Motorcycles and Trail Bikes
- Park out of sight in a garage or basement, or use a cover.
- Engrave with an Operation Identification number recommended by local law enforcement.
- Lock all bicycles with a case-hardened chain or cable and lock, winding the cable through the frame and both wheels and then around a fixed object.
- Use the fork lock found on most street motorcycles. For extra protection of your bicycle or motorcycle, invest in a heavy U-shaped lock made of extremely hard steel that cannot be hack-sawed or a case-hardened chain and a sturdy padlock.
- Watch out for key numbers! Some motorcycle manufacturers stamp the key number on the lock. With this number, anyone can go to a key maker and have a key cut that will fit perfectly. Many key makers ask for identification, but don't take chances, write down your key number, store the number in a safe place and then file it off the lock.
- Many specialized vehicles don't have VINs and should be marked with another ID number, such as a drivers license.
- Lock up easy-to-carry items like motors and camping gear before leaving your vehicle.
- Use secured 'toppers' or tool boxes for your truck. Don't assume a thief can't lift a box because it's heavy.
If It Happens to You
If your vehicle is broken into or stolen, inform the police immediately. Stolen vehicles may be used in the commission of other crimes. Your quick action may both aid in recovering your vehicle and prevent its use for illegal purposes
Is your home safe? Do you often walk alone? Are you at risk for being robbed or worse?
Take the Rate your Risk test.