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Preventing Theft

Theft is usually a crime of opportunity and is the most common crime on any college campus. The best means of prevention is to reduce or remove the opportunity:

  • Whenever you leave your office, laboratory or residence hall room lock the door and all windows
  • Never prop open locked doors to buildings. Do not let persons whom you do not know into the building
  • Never loan your keys or ID card to anyone
  • When storing a purse or backpack in an office, put it in a file cabinet or drawer and lock it
  • Do not leave backpacks, purses or briefcases unattended in public places
  • Record serial numbers and descriptions of your valuables
  • Do not keep large sums of money, jewelry or valuable items in your room or office
  • Take your valuables home when you leave on vacation
  • Do not leave messages on your door indicating that you won't be back for a period of time
  • Do not leave your room unlocked while you are sleeping or when you leave your room, even if it's "just for a minute"
  • Engrave personal property with your driver's license number
  • If you have a computer or other expensive equipment in your office, have security cables installed to lock it down. Call the Help Desk to arrange installation of cables.
Personal Safety
  • Lock your residence room or office door whenever you leave
  • Do not prop open locked doors (doing so is a violation for the College's Standards of Conduct, as well as fire regulations)
  • Do not walk alone at night.  Walk with a friend
  • Should you decide to walk alone, choose a route that avoids dark and vacant areas
  • Have your car or house key ready before getting to the door so that you are not delayed by fumbling to find it. Before getting into your car make sure that no one is hiding inside. When you get into the car, lock all doors and roll up the windows
  • Park your car in a well-lighted area
  • Sales people are not allowed to solict on campus. If a salesperson comes to your residence, call Campus Safety immediatetly. 
  • If strangers who look suspicious are in the residence hall, call Campus Safety
Common Scams

The following has been adapted from guidance provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA):

The public should be aware of job-search scams in which people who respond to ads or online job postings receive checks that appear to be from legitimate companies. The type of job can vary—models, mystery shoppers, data entry personnel or some other type of independent worker. But one element is always the same: In each of these scams, you are sent an authentic-looking check.

In many instances, these fake checks will feature the name of a real company—although often not the company that purportedly hired you, which should be your first red flag. They also might use real account and routing numbers. In the most common version of this scam, the sender instructs you to deposit the check into your bank account and then almost immediately transfers a portion of the money to someone else. That's your second red flag. Days later, your bank informs you that the check was counterfeit and that you are liable for the amount withdrawn, usually several thousand dollars. You've been scammed—and there is usually no way to recover the money you sent to a third party.

Unexpected Check Scam

Simply put, you receive a check out of the blue, perhaps by registered mail or other delivery method that requires a signature. No instructions accompany the check—but once you deposit the check, you may further entangle yourself with the fraudster. For example, you might be liable for the amount of the counterfeit check, your endorsement might give your account information to fraudsters, or you could receive follow-up attempts to “phish*” for personal financial information—or some combination of the above.

Mystery Shopping Scam

Fraudsters lure victims by posting ads for mystery shoppers in job classifieds, such as on the popular website Craigslist. When victims respond to the ads, they are led to believe that they have been hired as mystery shoppers to evaluate the services of money transfer companies, such as MoneyGram. Victims are then sent checks that appear to be from legitimate companies and instructed to deposit the checks in their bank accounts, then withdraw most of the money and wire it to someone else—often a purported fellow mystery shopper. Victims are told to keep several hundred dollars of the money as payment. When the checks are later discovered to be phony, the banks reverse the deposit and the victims are left liable for the money withdrawn, usually several thousand dollars.

Modeling Scam

Typically this scam starts with a victim responding to an online posting—or the victim may have posted information online, such as with a modeling clearing house. Either way, the victim eventually gets "hired" by the fraudsters to model and receives an email with instructions. Similar to the mystery shopping scam, the victim then receives a legitimate looking check and is told to cash the check, wire some portion of the proceeds to a third party—such as a "supervising crew"—and keep the remainder as payment.

PDF icon Scam Prevention Tips.pdf