Prevention

While the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management works around the clock to keep our campus safe, a well-informed and vigilant community is our first line of defence.

Campus Watch

The following are just a few things students can do to assist in keeping our campus safe.

  • Program the phone number of Public Safety into your phone: 205-726-2020.
  • Be aware of the location of emergency phones on campus.
  • Keep a list of your personal property to include the make/model/serial numbers and a full description of the items.

Individual Safety on Campus

  • Never walk alone after dark.
  • Walk in well lit areas and avoid areas where someone could hide.
  • Let someone know where you are going, what route you are going to take and when you expect to return.
  • Be aware of everyone in your immediate area and once again, stay in well lit areas as much as possible.

Residence Halls

  • Never prop exterior or suite doors open.
  • Keep windows and doors locked.
  • Close blinds or curtains after dark.
  • Report any harassing, obscene, or anonymous phone calls.
  • Report suspicious looking/acting individuals to Public Safety immediately.

Vehicle Safety

  • Park in well lit areas.
  • All valuables need to be out of sight or locked in the trunk.
  • Check the area for suspicious individuals or activity before leaving your vehicle.
  • Make sure you lock all doors when leaving your vehicle.
  • Keep doors locked when driving.
  • Never hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers.
  • When approaching your vehicle, be prepared to enter quickly. Have your keys in your hand ready to unlock the vehicle.
  • Check your vehicle before getting in to insure no one had broken into your vehicle and is hiding inside.
  • If so equipped, you can use your alarm/panic button on your vehicle’s key fob to attract attention if assistance is required.

Physical/Sexual Assaults

  • Be aware that there are “date rape” drugs that could be used to incapacitate you. Do not accept beverages from anyone and do not leave your beverages unattended.
  • Immediately report the incident to Public Safety and to local police.
  • Seek medical attention.
  • Consider the importance of preserving physical evidence.
  • Consider pressing charges and cooperating with the investigation of the assault.

Learn More

Identity Theft Protection

How Identity Theft Occurs

Despite your best efforts to manage the flow of your personal information or to keep it to yourself, skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to gain access to your data. Some examples are:

  1. They steal wallets and purses containing your identification and credit/bank cards.
  2. They steal your mail, including your bank statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks and tax information.
  3. They complete a change of address form to divert your mail to another location.
  4. They rummage through your trash or the trash of businesses for personal data in a practice known as dumpster diving.
  5. They find personal information in your home.
  6. They use personal information you share on the Internet.
  7. They scam you, often through email, by posing as legitimate companies or government agencies you do business with.

How Thieves Use Your Information

Identity thieves utilize personal information in a variety of ways:

  1. They call your credit card issuer and, pretending to be you, ask to change the mailing address on your credit card account.
  2. They open a new credit card account, using your name, date of birth, and social security number (SSN).
  3. They establish phone or wireless service in your name.
  4. They open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account.
  5. They file for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they’ve incurred under your name, or to avoid eviction.
  6. They counterfeit checks or debit cards and drain your bank account.
  7. They purchase vehicles by taking out automobile loans in your name.
  8. They give your name to the police during an arrest. If they’re released from police custody, but don't show up for their court date, an arrest warrant may be issued in your name.

Minimize Your Risk

While it is very difficult to prevent identity theft entirely, you can minimize your risk by managing your personal information wisely, cautiously and with an awareness of the issue.

Place Passwords on Your Credit Card, Bank and Telephone Accounts

Avoid using easily available information like your mother’s maiden name, your date of birth, the last four digits of your SSN or a series of consecutive numbers.

Secure Personal Information in Your Home

If you have roommates, employ outside help or are having service work done in your home, be sure and secure all confidential information.

Ask About Information Security Procedures in the Workplace

Find out who has access to your personal information and verify that records are kept in a secure location. Be concerned also about the disposal procedures for those records.

Credit Bureaus

Your credit report contains information on where you work and live, the credit accounts that have been opened in your name, how you pay your bills and whether you’ve been sued, arrested or filed for bankruptcy. It is important to order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year:

  • Equifax
    1-800-685-1111 (to order the report)
    1-800-525-6285 (to report fraud)
    www.equifax.com
  • Experian
    1-888-397-3742 (to order the report)
    1-888-397-3742 (to report fraud)
    www.experian.com
  • TransUnion
    1-800-888-4213 (to order the report)
    1-800-680-7289 (to report fraud)
    www.transunion.com

By checking your report regularly, you can catch mistakes and fraud before they wreak havoc on your personal finances. Knowing what is in your credit report allows you to fix problems before they jeopardize a major financial transaction.

It’s the Law

The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, enacted by Congress in October 1998 is the federal law making identity theft a crime.

The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act makes it a federal crime when someone “knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law.”

Under the Act, a name or SSN is considered a means of identification. So is a credit card number or cellular telephone electronic serial number, which identifies a specific individual. Violations of the act are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies, including the U.S.S.S., the F.B.I., US Postal Inspection Service and Office of the Inspector General. Federal identity theft cases are prosecuted by the US Department of Justice. In most cases, a conviction for identity theft carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment, a fine and forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit the crime. Many states have passed laws related to identity theft; Alabama's law can be located in Alabama Code 13A-8-190 through 201.

Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maintains the Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse—the federal government’s identity theft complaint database—and provides information to identity theft victims. The FTC collects complaints from identity theft victims and shares their information with law enforcement agencies nationwide. This information also may be shared with other government agencies, consumer reporting agencies and companies where the fraud was perpetrated to help resolve identity theft–related problems.

If you become a victim of identity theft, it is suggested that you adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Notify your local law enforcement agency. Complete a police incident report and send a copy to your financial institution as soon as possible. If obtaining a copy of the report is not possible, at least obtain the complaint number related to the report.
  2. Notify all three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—of the circumstances.
  3. Notify the fraud department at each creditor, bank, or utility/service that provided the identity thief with unauthorized credit, goods or services. NOTE: Be sure and complete the ID theft affidavit.
  4. Notify the FTC.
 

Operation Identification

The Department of Public Safety is proud to offer ReportIt, an online reporting system to catalog information about your valuables. The free, confidential program allows you to securely store serial numbers, item descriptions, pictures and scans of receipts so that your items may be more easily identified in the event of theft or loss.

No one has access to your ReportIt information except you. It is accessed through a username and password. In the event of theft or loss, the information could be printed and provided to Public Safety to use in investigations.

ReportIt can be accessed at www.reportit.leadsonline.com. Create a new account with your email address as your username and a unique password. You may list up to 100 items. The items can be grouped by category and the following information can be provided to help in the identification of your items: description, brand/make, model, serial number, value, date purchased and any additional comments along with photos.

In the event of a theft, Public Safety can utilize this information to search pawn shops and recovered property at other local law enforcement agencies.

Report It

Sexual Assault Information

The Higher Education Amendments of 1992 require that the following information about campus sexual assault be provided to each student through an annual report.

Samford University’s behavioral expectations for students are based on Christian values. One of the stated values is The Worth of the Individual. The university values the intrinsic worth of every individual within the community. This respect for individuals includes an appreciation of cultural backgrounds, an understanding of different attitudes and opinions and an awareness of the consequences of one’s actions on the broader community.

Within this context, Samford University does not condone violations against the worth of an individual. The Worth of the Individual value can be violated by behaviors such as harassment, hazing, sexual misconduct and assault.

Sexual misconduct of any kind is inconsistent with the university’s values and incompatible with the safe, healthy Christian environment that the Samford University community expects. Sexual misconduct prohibited by this policy encompasses sexual harassment, sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact and sexual exploitation.

To inform the campus community, students are given a student handbook that elaborates behavioral expectations and the values that form the basis for these behaviors. Further, through orientations, residence halls, fraternities and sororities, staff training and other types of programs, students are verbally informed of the values and how they can be violated through rape, acquaintance rape and other sexual misconduct. Whenever a student wishes to file a report of an alleged value violation, including a sex offense, the procedures can be found in the student handbook. In addition, value violation procedural guides can be received in the office of the associate dean for Student Services and Values Advocacy and the public safety office. In all values violations hearings, both the accused student and the accuser may bring witnesses. Both the accused and the accuser may question witnesses.

Whenever it has been determined through established procedures that a sex offense value has been violated, sanctions may range from probation to expulsion from the university. It is most important that the victim of a sex offense on campus report the incident as quickly as possible after the occurrence to either the Samford University Department of Public Safety or the City of Homewood Police. Care should be taken not to disturb the incident location so that evidence is not destroyed. The victim should not shower or change clothing until after a report has been filed. Unless there is a life-threatening circumstance, medical attention should not be sought until after the initial report is made. Samford University public safety personnel will counsel the student about the options for filing a formal complaint either on or off campus, and personnel will assist the student in filing a complaint with off-campus authorities.

In addition, the student will be referred to the university counselor who will provide services for the student and/or share with the student counseling and mental health services in the community for a victim of sexual assault. The university counselor, located in Student Health Services, will assist in examining options for changing academic and living situations after a sexual assault. The university counselor, who is knowledgeable of campus policy, procedures and personnel, will make a request on behalf of the student.