The holiday season is always a special time of year. It is also a time when busy people become vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. You can never be too careful, too prepared or too aware.
Augusta University Police Department provides several tips below on how to make sure you stay safe this holiday season.
- Ensure your office door is always secured when you are not present.
- Always ensure your purse/wallet/p-card is secured in a file cabinet or desk.
- Never leave your laptop unsecured or in an unlocked vehicle.
- Have a list of serial numbers for all electronic equipment (both personal and state-owned).
- Report all suspicious persons and suspicious activity immediately to the AU Police Department at 706-721-2911.
In parking areas
- Store your packages in the trunk of your car.
- Have your keys ready when returning to your vehicle.
- If you have car trouble, remain in your car and use a cell phone to call for assistance, or return to the store and notify security.
- Park in a well-lit area as close as possible to mall or store entrances.
Reduce risk of identity theft
- Be careful not to leave your credit cards with store merchants.
- Be wary of providing your credit card information over the phone, where the wrong person could overhear your account number and other important information.
- When shopping online, purchase goods from only those websites you know to be legitimate. Check with the Better Business Bureau if unsure.
- Check your credit card statements regularly, to ensure there’s no unauthorized activity.
- Shred credit card statements — and all documents with personal information — before throwing them into the trash.
- If you notice unauthorized activity on your credit card, notify your credit card company immediately.
- When using your ATM card to withdraw money, be sure no one can see you typing in your PIN.
- Never give your password to anyone and do not allow others access to your email account.
- Change your password frequently.
- Do not put personal information or photos on your web page and do not give personal information that can identify where you live to social networking sites.
- Use a secure browser that will encrypt or scramble purchase information or pay with a money order or check.
- Update your virus software regularly, or when new versions are available.
- Do not download files sent to you by strangers or click on hyperlinks from people you don’t know.
- Make certain that all your personal information is deleted from your computer prior to disposing of it.
- If you leave your car on campus, find out where you are supposed to park and remove all valuables from inside.
- Place valuables that you cannot take with you out of sight in your room/apartment/home and unplug all appliances before you leave.
- If you stay on campus during holidays, be alert to any suspicious persons around the residence halls, bike racks, or parking lots.
- Call Augusta University Police Department immediately to report any unusual activity.
- When using credit cards, make sure only one credit slip is printed with your charge card. Also, be sure to tear up any carbons that may be used to complete the transaction.
- If you stop for a bite to eat, always be aware of your wallet or handbag. Place bags in front of you where you can see them.
- Try to shop with friends or relatives. There is safety in numbers.
- Keys should not be carried in your purse. In the event of a purse snatching, the thief will have your address and keys to your home.
- Walk confidently, with your head up, and stay in well-lighted and well-traveled areas. At this time of year, “con artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
- Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
- Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
- Keep cash in your front pocket.
- Carry a minimal amount of credit cards and avoid carrying large sums of cash.
- Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your residence.
Feel free to share this information with family, friends and neighbors. The Augusta University Police Department wishes you a safe, happy and peaceful holiday season.
Also, Augusta University students, faculty and staff are encouraged to use the Rave Guardian mobile app to communicate with campus police about any issues, concerns or questions related to campus safety and security.
The app may be used to inquire about policies and best practices for getting help for a friend, reporting vandalism, suspicious activity or any other issue related to conduct and well-being. The app can be downloaded for free on Google Play or the Apple App Store.