Feb 4 2013

Safety Tips from UC Police

The University of California Police department offers advice on reducing your chance of becoming a crime victim –

Increase Chance of Recovering a Stolen Computer

Be sure to write down the manufacturer, model and serial number of your computer or tablet and file this information. It is useful to law enforcement in their efforts to recover property.

Commercial software products are available which can track a computer’s location through its connections to the Internet. Install and activate the software when the laptop is in your control, and it will be useful if a theft occurs. Some computer models purchased from Dell, Lenovo, HP, and other manufacturers may have Absolute Software’s Computrace, which embeds a tracking agent in the BIOS. The tamper-resistant agent remains active even if the hard drive is reformatted or replaced.

Protect Data

The first line of defense in safeguarding sensitive data is to remove all unessential data from the computer. If you must store sensitive data on your computer, use encryption techniques to protect it. Many vendors offer encryption solutions. Utimaco Inc. and Absolute Software (Computrace) have partnered so their security solutions are compatible.

Computrace’s can further assure security by making it possible to remotely delete data on a protected computer that has left your control. This data removal can be targeted at the file, directory and operating system levels. Computrace meets U.S. Department of Defense (short) standards for data removal.

Stay safe at the ATM

  • Try to use ATMs during daylight hours.
  • If you have to get cash at night, go with someone else and only use machines that are well-lit and visible from a major street.
  • Look for suspicious people or activity.
  • If you notice anything out of the ordinary, even if you have already started a transaction, cancel your transaction and leave.
  • When entering your PIN (your secret personal identification number), shield the keypad.
  • Always take any receipts and statements.
  • Do not count or display money at the ATM.
  • When you use a drive-up ATM, make sure your passenger windows are closed and all of your doors are locked.
  • Do not give your PIN to anyone. A real police investigator or bank official will never ask for your PIN.

Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. While nothing can guarantee that you won’t become a victim of identity theft, you can minimize your risk, and minimize the damage if a problem develops, by making it more difficult for identity thieves to access your personal information.

  • Protect your Social Security number.
  • Treat your trash and mail carefully.
  • Be on guard when using the Internet.
  • Select intricate passwords, changing them regularly.
  • Verify sources before sharing information.
  • Safeguard your purse and wallet.
  • Store identity and banking information in secure locations.

If you become a victim of identity theft

If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following four steps as soon as possible, and keep a record with the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.
1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.
2. Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
3. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report the situation.
4. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.

Harassing or Threatening Phone Calls

Harassing or annoying phone calls might include calls made by pranksters randomly or calls made intentionally by people with whom you have been acquainted. They can include calls at hours when you are sleeping; frequent pointless calls; calls where the caller says nothing; or obscene calls.
Harrassing calls may be made with intent to fraud, but may also be made just so the caller can get a reaction from you. Most can be stopped if you use some simple techniques. Your telephone is for your personal use and service. It is under your control and you are not obligated to talk to anyone.

  • Hang up if the caller doesn’t speak or you simply don’t feel comfortable talking.
  • If the caller asks, “Who is this?” or “What number have I reached?” don’t answer. Instead ask, “Who are you trying to reach?” or “What number did you call?” If the call is not legitimate, that will probably end it.
  • Under no circumstances should you give the names of others living with you to someone who doesn’t already know them.
  • Don’t give out any information to anyone whom you don’t recognize or who fails to give you satisfactory ID or affiliation. If the caller can’t respond to your request for identification or does not respond immediately, hang up.
  • If a caller persists after you have made it clear you don’t want to talk to them, the simplest response is to hang up.

If you are experiencing harassing calls, you should keep a log of all incidents. This documentation will help you in any investigation. About each incident, note date, time, and description of what happened.

About threatening calls

If a caller threatens you, your property or those with whom you live, notify local Police immediately at their non-emergency number. Local police can assist you in working with telephone service providers to put a stop to the calls.


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