Online Communities: How to stay safe and maintain your privacy.
Video explaining internet scamming on MySpace and Facebook.
On-line communities can be fun, but discover the risks involved and the importance of protecting your privacy while using social networking internet sites like MySpace.com and Facebook.com
This video was produced for the West Philadelphia Campus Community Consortium to Reduce Violent Crimes Against Women (CCC) and sponsored by a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women in the U.S. Department of Justice.
Drexel Public Safety encourages students, faculty, and staff to be alert, take precautions, and report crimes and suspicious activities. Your efforts to stay well-informed and take preventive action will help in maintaining the safest possible environment on Drexel’s campuses.
Reduce the odds of being a victim of crime; review these safety tips:
- Awareness at Social Events
- Bike Awareness and Safety
- Pedestrian Safety
- Vehicle Safety
- Holiday and Vacation Safety
- Harassing Calls
- Internet Scams
- Privacy and Identity Theft Protection
- Traffic Tips
Awareness at Social Events
- Plan to be with at least one other friend when going out to a bar, club, or party.
- Be sure that at least one person is identified as the designated driver.
- Keep your friends or roommates informed of where you are going, when you plan on returning and who you’ll be with.
- Do not drink beverages that are already open handed to you by people you don’t know or trust. Never leave your drink unattended.
- Trust your instincts. If any social situation becomes uncomfortable or feels wrong, remain calm and leave immediately.
- If at any point, you or a friend feels disoriented or unusually intoxicated for what you have consumed, leave the bar or party immediately. Get medical help if necessary.
- Be aware of your surroundings and travel the safest route available.
- Adhere to all of the rules and regulations set forth in the Student Handbook.
Bike Awareness and Safety
Lock It Up!
- Always lock your bike when unattended, securing both the frame and wheels.
- Use multiple locking devices such as a Kryptonite lock (highly recommended) in combination with a steel cable.
- Use bike racks which are monitored by Drexel Public Safety.
Share the Road!
Under Pennsylvania State Law, bicycles are considered vehicles and, as such, those operating bicycles are required to comply with all applicable motor vehicle laws for the mutual safety of everyone using the roadways. When riding a bicycle:
- Ride in the same direction as motor vehicles.
- Use bike lanes when available.
- Protect yourself – wear a helmet and reflective devices!
- Travel with others – especially at night. Use the buddy system, Drexel Shuttle Services (215-895-1700), or Public Safety walking escorts (215-895-2822).
- Always cross at the crosswalk. It’s illegal to jaywalk!
- Check both directions for oncoming traffic before stepping off the curb.
- Avoid distractions such as mobile phones, mp3 players, PDAs, etc.
- Pedestrians have the right of way – but never put yourself in a dangerous situation.
- Stay alert, pay attention to people and conditions around you, and know your environment.
- Avoid walking in dark, less-traveled areas. The shortest route is not always the best.
- Keep personal items close to your body. Don’t display money or expensive jewelry.
- If necessary, use an emergency telephone (list and map under development) to request assistance.
- Park in well-lit, high-traffic areas.
- Keep valuables out of sight; place all articles in the trunk, glove box, or remove altogether.
- Remove registration and insurance cards.
- Always lock your car and keep windows and sunroofs closed.
- If you have a GPS or similar device in your car, remove all holders, suction cups, or any other type of evidence this device may be in the vehicle.
- Use anti-theft devices such as the "CLUB” and/or “LOJACK."
- Activate your alarm system.
- Report vandalism and thefts that occur on campus to Public Safety at 215-895-2822.
Holiday and Vacation Safety
When leaving your campus residence or office for an extended period of time:
- Register your address and duration of absence using the Request for Special Property Check Form [PDF] or by calling Public Safety at 215-895-2822.
- Make sure you lock all doors and windows.
- Use your alarm system if you have one.
- Report locks, doors, windows, and alarm systems that have been broken or tampered with to Drexel Public Safety.
- Maintain key control, adhere to all access control procedures and wear/carry your ID Card.
- Know with whom you are sharing personal and travel information.
- Keep valuables and personal items locked in a safe or safe deposit box.
- Never leave cash in your residence or office.
- Inventory and secure all office equipment.
- Know your coworkers and question unfamiliar or suspicious delivery and repair persons.
- Be cautious when working late. Travel with others or use Public Safety walking escorts (215-895-2822).
- When possible, photograph valuables and record serial numbers in a safe and secure location.
- Have a neighbor or friend check on your residence periodically.
- Stop newspaper and mail deliveries.
- Place lighting and other electronic devices (TVs, radios) on timers to give the appearance that someone is home.
Anyone can be the victim of harassing, annoying, obscene, or threatening telephone calls. Most calls can be prevented or avoided by using some simple techniques to decrease the potential for victimization:
- Hang up on unwanted calls.
- Do not engage in conversation or provide any personal information about yourself or other residents.
- Avoid saying that you are not home on outgoing messages.
- Report the call immediately to Drexel Public Safety at 215-895-2822.
- Contact your cell phone service provider. Most carriers can assist you with harassing phone calls.
Avoid common scams encountered on malicious web sites and those sent through fraudulent e-mails (known as “phishing”) such as:
- Any email asking you to confirm your user name or password or to update your credit card information
- Online auctions
- General merchandise sales
- Foreign money offers and transfers
- Internet access services
- Information audit services
- Work-at-home offers
- Advanced free loans
- Credit card offers
- Business opportunities
What can you do to avoid becoming a victim?
- Never give out confidential information such as your social security number, pin numbers and passwords.
- Always pay by credit card; never send cash.
- Know with whom you are doing business.
- Use only secure networks for payment.
- Keep copies of all documents such as receipts and credit card statements.
- Check credit card and bank statements regularly for accuracy or unauthorized purchases.
- Trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
Privacy and Identity Theft Protection
Today, people are often required to share personal information when they engage in business or personal transactions. Identity thieves gather an individual’s personal information without their knowledge and then use the information to commit fraud or theft.
Victims are often unaware that their identity has been stolen until it is too late. It can take months or years and thousands of dollars to rectify the problems created by identity theft.
How does an identity thief gather information?
- Stealing wallets and purses containing ID, debit and credit cards
- Stealing mail – including bank and credit card statements
- Posing as a telephone solicitor
- Observing ATM transactions
- Fraudulent internet sites and scams
- Fraudulently obtaining credit reports
- Hacking into computer networks at work or at your home
- Sharing personal information through online social networks, such as MySpace and Facebook
- Rummaging through trash and other discarded paperwork
How identity theft affects you:
- Your personal information is used to open new credit card or cell phone accounts or loans; account balances are left unpaid.
- Your billing address is changed on your credit cards, bank statements, or cell phone accounts to divert your mail to a different location, hiding discrepancies in your billing statements.
- New bank accounts are opened in your name against which bad checks are written.
- All or some of your bank account balance is withdrawn using counterfeit checks, debit cards, or electronic transfers that appear to be authorized by you.
- A bankruptcy is filed in your name to avoid eviction or other collection practices.
- An ID or driver’s license is created using your information and is then used by an impostor, claiming to be you.
How do I avoid becoming a victim?
- Obtain a copy of your current credit report at least once a year and review for discrepancies.
- Never give out personal information, such as your social security number or date of birth, over the Internet or phone.
- Never carry important personal documents such as your social security card, birth certificate or passport, unless absolutely necessary.
- Cancel and destroy all unused credit cards and keep track of your current credit cards by reviewing statements on a monthly basis.
- Memorize pin numbers and other important numbers or passwords; never write them down.
- Shred all papers containing personal information before discarding, including bills, bank statements, receipts and credit card offers that are pre-printed with your name.
- Password-protect and/or encrypt PDAs, computers, cell phones, flash drives and hardware of any kind that contain sensitive personal information.
- By using common sense, you can avoid becoming the victim of a scam; remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
What should I do if I suspect I have been a victim of identity theft?
- Contact your credit card companies and banking institutions immediately.
- Contact the police department in the location where you believe the theft took place.
- Report suspicious activity regarding your mail to your local post office.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and complete the Identity Theft Complaint Form.
- Contact the Drexel Public Safety at 215-895-2822.
Under Federal law, every person has the right to receive a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies:
The Drexel University Police Department is dedicated to the safety of our campus community. Drexel Police are empowered by the state of Pennsylvania to enforce the Motor Vehicle Code for Pennsylvania as well as local ordinances for the City of Philadelphia.
Traffic Safety Tips:
- CELL PHONES. Philadelphia has enacted an ordinance that prohibits talking, dialing or texting on a handheld device while driving a motor vehicle. It also prohibits these activities while on a bicycle, scooter, in-line skates or skateboard. Hands-Free Devices are permitted.
- BUCKLE UP. It's the law. Besides, safety belts and restraint systems have saved countless lives. Make a habit of it, and be sure to check and make sure everyone else in your vehicle is buckled up as well. Don't forget to use the required safety seating for your children. Age/size-appropriate car seats and booster seats are available in many locations in many price ranges, and there are programs which help with providing child safety seats for those who need financial assistance. Also, when installing a child safety seat, be sure to read the directions so that you are certain you've installed it in your vehicle properly.
- MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS. There are a number of factors, which can take our attention away from the road, and we therefore have to avoid doing things that will divert our concentration away from safe driving. Drivers who were distracted while using mobile telephones, changing CDs in the stereo, smoking, eating, or even applying makeup or shaving have caused many accidents. When driving, we have to remember we have a responsibility to our loved ones, and to others, as well as to ourselves, to do everything within our power to stay focused on safety.
- DON'T DRIVE IMPAIRED. Although this seems very obvious, the unfortunate truth is that many people are driving under the influence of not just alcohol, but other mind or mood altering substances, including medications. The unnecessary tragedies caused by DUI related crashes can be avoided by two simple means: having a designated driver, or taking a cab.
- STAY ALERT. In order to stay focused, it is important to get plenty of sleep and avoid driving when you have not had sufficient rest. On long drives, your ability to concentrate can be improved with periodic rest stops.
- SET A GOOD EXAMPLE. When you practice good driving skills, others will notice; especially if the "others" happen to be your children and other loved ones. You can unwittingly be teaching them positive or negative driving habits. Be aware of the impact your behavior can have on your children, and think about how this may affect the way they drive... Observing the laws which are designed to keep us safe on the roadways, along with following some common sense rules, may make the difference between a safe and pleasant driving experience and an accident, and it could save your life.