The UAB Police Department offers the following internet safety tips...

Internet Crime Prevention Tips

Today’s world is more interconnected than ever before.  Yet, for all its advantages, increased connectivity brings increased risk of theft, fraud, and abuse.  If we had to give only a single bit of advice, then, based on current crime reporting, it would be this: DO NOT give sensitive or personal information to anyone unless you are sure that they are indeed who they claim to be and that they should have access to the information. Moreover, you cannot be sure of the identity of someone who sends you an unsolicited email.

Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Fraud: 
  • Don’t give out your credit card number online unless the site is secure and reputable. Sometimes a tiny icon of a padlock appears to symbolize a higher level of security to transmit data. This icon is not a guarantee of a secure site, but provides some assurance.
  • Don’t trust a site just because it claims to be secure.
  • Before using the site, check out the security/encryption software it uses.
  • Make sure you are purchasing merchandise from a reputable source.
  • Do your homework on the individual or company to ensure that they are legitimate.
  • Send an e-mail to the seller to make sure the e-mail address is active, and be wary of those that utilize free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.
  • Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau from the seller’s area.
  • Don’t judge a person or company by their website; flashy websites can be set up quickly.
  • Be cautious when responding to special investment offers, especially through unsolicited e-mail.
  • Be cautious when dealing with individuals/companies from outside your own country.
  • Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card number.
Keep a list of all your credit cards and account information along with the card issuer’s contact information.  If anything looks suspicious or you lose your credit card(s), contact the card issuer immediately to avoid illegal charges and/or identity theft.

Roderick W. Wilkins
UAB Police Criminal Investigations Division
  1. Walk with someone else, whenever possible.
  2. Always carry a cellular telephone (if possible).
  3. Consider attaching a loud whistle to your key chain so you can use it if necessary.
  4. Walk only in well-lit areas and avoid short cuts through poorly lit vacant lots and other deserted places.
  5. Walk near the curb on the side of the street facing traffic.
  6. Dress appropriately. If you expect to be walking, wear comfortable and/or visible clothes and shoes you can run in.
  7. If you think you are being followed while walking, change direction and head for a well-lit area with other people around. Cross to the other side of the street rather than confront a male alone in an isolated area.
  8. If you become a victim of an attack, attempt to make as much commotion as possible so that you attract attention. (Scream, blow whistle etc.)
  9. Have a plan in place to deal with a violent situation if it should occur.
  10. Exercise common sense, and be aware of your surroundings, no matter where you are.
  1. List only your initials and last name on your mailbox or in telephone books.
  2. Be alert when returning home by having your key ready as you approach the door; in addition, if you think someone is inside, don’t go in! Call the police from a nearby phone.
  3. If possible, equip your house or apartment door with a peephole and dead bolt lock with a one-inch throw.
  4. Be sure all windows have secure frames and locks. Secure sliding doors by drilling a hole through the inside frames, and inserting a nail to prevent sliding. Place a strong piece of wood in the track. Install locks to prevent sliding or lifting. Use window key locks. Keep keys in locks for quick exit in case of emergency or fire. For double-hung windows, drill holes downward where inside and outside sashes meet. Insert nails or bolts. Consider grates for basement and first floor windows. (Check local fire codes first.) Consider buying an alarm from a reputable dealer.
  5. Never open your door to strangers. Request identification from all repair or service personnel, and verify the identity before letting them in, especially if you have not called for repairs.
  6. Use outside lighting whenever possible.
  7. Never hide your door key in a flower pot or under a mat. In fact, don't hide your door key anywhere outside your residence.
  8. Make certain your door is locked whenever you leave, even if only for a short time. When practical, lock your home and/or office door behind you, or lock your desk. Never leave your purse or valuables visibly unattended.
  9. Have peace of mind when you're away. Inform a trusted neighbor of travel plans. Have him or her collect mail and other deliveries. Don’t share your plans with strangers. Leave shades in their normal positions. Put 2 or more lights on a timer. Use them daily, not just when you're away.
  1. Have your car keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.
  2. Look under the car as you approach it to be sure no one is hiding under it.
  3. If a person gets near your vehicle causing concern, turn around and walk away.
  4. Consider getting a cell phone as a security device for emergencies.
  5. Consider attaching a loud whistle to your key chain so you can use it if necessary.
  6. Look in the back seat before getting into car; be sure no one is hiding there, even if you locked the door earlier.
  7. After entering your vehicle, immediately lock all doors.
  8. When possible, try to avoid parking your vehicle in unlighted, isolated areas.
  9. If your hands are full of bags, consider asking for a security escort from the store, mall, or grocery staff. Be aware of your surroundings when placing items in trunk, don't just bend over and keep your attention diverted from what is going on around you.
  10. When dealing with kids and car seats, it is better to put them in the seat, then get in yourself, lock the doors, and then finish buckling the kids up. This keeps you safer and allows you to give the full attention needed to handling the kids.
  11. Lock personal property in the trunk of the car if you cannot take it with you. Do not leave such items as your purse, a calculator, camera, brief case, laptops, GPS or IPOD in view or on seats.
  12. Keep plenty of gas in your car and keep the car in good running order. If you should have car trouble, raise the hood, lock yourself in and wait for the police. If someone stops and offers help, stay in your car and ask that person to call for help for you; a relative, a friend or the police.
  13. When driving alone at night, let a family member or friend know the route you take and your expected arrival time at your destination. Check in with them when you get there or ask them to call and check on you if you don't call by a designated time. Use the "buddy system" to look out for each other. Do the same when traveling out of town. When driving alone at night, try to stay in the inner most or center lane (farthest from the curb and sidewalk). Be aware of people standing on the side of the road at stop lights and corners. Do not crowd the car in front of you. Leave room to pull out if someone were to try and get into the car with you.
  14. If you are in a minor accident, or someone bumps your car from the rear, do not get out, especially in remote areas, or at night. Only crack the window if you need to speak to the other driver. If anything looks suspicious or the other driver (people) begin to demand that you get out, DO NOT GET OUT! Tell the other driver that they can follow you to a police or fire station. If they still insist that you get out, leave immediately and go to a public place and call the police. If you are driving and think you are being followed, make several turns in one direction and head back the way you were going. It they are still behind you, go to the nearest police or fire station, or somewhere public. Have your local police number and/or 911 programmed as a speed dial number in your cell phone so that you can access it quickly in an emergency situation.
  15. Exercise common sense, and be aware of your surroundings, no matter where you are.
  16. Have a plan in place to deal with a violent situation if it should occur.
  17. Report all suspicious persons and/or activity to your UAB Police.
  1. Lock and secure your desk and office when away, even if it's for just a minute or so.
  2. Keep small valuables (wallets & purses) out of sight in a closed and locked desk or file cabinet.
  3. If possible, when away from your work area let a coworker or close neighbor know about your departure and expected time of return.
  4. Lock typewriters, computers, laptops & similar office equipment to the desk or table top with some type of security device.
  5. Keep a list of brand names, serial and model numbers descriptions of all office equipment in your work area.
  6. Protect your personal property by marking it with an additional, special id. number, such as your driver’s license number. Use account or other numbers for office and unit equipment and keep records of these numbers.
  7. If you have to work late at night, avoid working alone. Keep all doors between you and the public closed and locked after-hours or when appropriate.
  8. When leaving work during the hours of darkness, you need an escort to your vehicle, call the UAB Police Department.
  9. If you are entrusted with a UAB key or CARDKEY access card, DO NOT loan it to anyone. Keys and Cardkeys can be easily lost or stolen and misused.
  10. If you receive annoying or obscene phone calls hang up. Write down the time of the call, the phone number of the caller if available, what the caller, said and notify your UAB Police.
  11. Report all suspicious persons and/or activity to your UAB Police.
  12. When vendors come to the office to pick up equipment for return or repairs, ask to see ID or proof of their affiliation with the company. If you have a vendor coming in to work or pick up equipment, tell somebody in the office so they can check on it for you if you are away from the office when they arrive. If you see somebody taking equipment out of a work area and you’re not sure if they should be, ask them who they are and what they are doing. If you think somebody is trying to steal items, call your UAB Police.
  13. Implementing a clean desk policy not only makes the sales force happy, but also helps to focus staff on the day ahead while ensuring that security is kept in mind. Every stray piece of paper can carry a risk: usernames, passwords, IP addresses, customer names and phone numbers all of which can be and should be considered confidential.
  1. Never Leave Items of Value Unattended. Wallets, cell phones, backpacks, calculators, and laptop computers left alone in a public area make up a significant amount of campus theft. Always secure belongings or take them with you.
  2. Register Laptop Computer with Police. The theft of laptop computers is a growing problem for the campus, as they are easy to take and to resell. Upon registration, the police will record identifying information about the computer and place a very visible registration sticker on it. You also may engrave personal info on it, if you wish. These steps deter thieves and increase chances of recovering a stolen laptop.
  3. Immediately Report Anyone Trying Door Handles or Entering Room. A significant amount of theft occurs when criminals enter unlocked doors. The criminal may walk the halls of buildings, including libraries, trying door handles, or enter an occupied room, then claim to have the wrong room. Both of these are not normal activity. Call the police right away if you witness someone trying door handles or a stranger entering your room uninvited. Protect yourself and others around you by reporting this activity.
  4. Immediately Report Unauthorized Solicitors. Unauthorized soliciting is prohibited and presents a threat to the campus community. The solicitors rarely have the product with them and want cash or a check made out to them, not their company. To avoid being the victim of fraudulent sales pitches, say you are not interested, close the door, and call the police immediately.
  5. Immediately Report any Other Suspicious Activity. Suspicious activity often indicates that the person is about to commit a crime. Reporting activity such as persons trying door handles, soliciting products, looking into car windows, loitering around dark areas, continuously walking up and down dorm halls, stopping you to ask uncomfortable personal questions, loitering or kneeling in bike racks, trying to conceal bolt cutters, screwdrivers, slim jims, etc, or attempting to follow you into a locked door. Also report any activity that seems out of place or makes you feel uncomfortable.
  1. Money can be replaced: Money is only a material thing and isn’t worth losing your life over. If you are faced with being robbed, hand over the money. Give robbers what they want.
  2. If they ask for your money, give it to them. Your life isn’t worth a few dollars. Remain calm and don’t show fear.
  3. Being robbed may be one of the scariest things that you will ever face. It’s important to remain calm and don’t show fear. Don’t hold anything back. This may save your life. Please give them what they ask for, upsetting the robber is the last thing you want to do! Don’t be a Hero
  4. Control your temper for the moment and remind yourself that you can’t be replaced. Make a Mental Note of their Appearance.
  5. This could be an event that you will remember for the rest of your life; however, everything that you remember about the person can help the police in their investigation. The Police will want to know what they were wearing, shoes, facial appearance, scars, tattoos, hair color, eye color, and anything else that would make this person stand out. Immediately call the Police after the robbery.
Properly securing your bicycle with a quality lock will reduce a crime of opportunity. Thieves know this and have figured out that stealing bikes and bike parts can be a lucrative business. If you own a bicycle, use a sturdy, good quality U-lock. A cable or chain lock is very vulnerable and easily defeated. The U-lock is sold in most bicycle stores.


  • DO register your bike and/or tag your bicycle.
  • DO keep your bike locked at all times.
  • DO lock your bike in a well lit area.
  • DO lock your bike in provided bicycle rack.
  • DO lock your bike to an object that is securely bolted or cemented to the ground.
  • DO position your lock with key mechanism facing down.
  • DO create a snug fit with wheels and frame so that there is little room in the U-portion of the lock for thieves’ tools.
  • DON’T lock your bike to itself, or to objects that can be easily cut.
  • DON’T lock your bike in the same area all the time.
  • DON’T position lock near the ground to prevent thieves from attempting to leverage or crush the lock.
  1. Always trust your instinct—after all, it’s gotten you this far in life already
  2. Take your time and look at lots of different profiles to get a feel for what kind of person you want
  3. Never publish your phone number or email address
  4. Don't take anything at face value -- it's easy to lie online, and many people do
  5. Ask lots of questions when chatting with your potential mates
  6. Make sure you feel comfortable with whoever you are chatting with, at all times
  7. If someone is abusive or rude, block them immediately
  8. Don't give your home or work address to anyone you have not met in person
  9. Before agreeing to a date, make sure you know as much about the other person as possible
  10. Don't allow yourself to be talked into anything -- you're the one in charge
  11. Take your time to get to know someone -- don't be rushed
  12. A patient person will be happy to wait until you are ready to meet
  13. Make sure anyone you're talking to is willing to provide photos and information about himself or herself
  14. Ask your date to leave a message on your voicemail beforehand, if possible
  15. Chat on the phone for a while before arranging a date
  16. Always meet in a well-lit public place
  17. Always tell a good friend where you are going and who you're meeting
  18. If possible, step away and call a friend during the date to confirm that everything is ok
  19. Always carry a cell phone on a date
  20. Always make your own travel arrangements to/from a first date
  21. Do not accept a ride home on the first date or reveal your address
  22. If you're traveling far, always make and confirm your own hotel arrangements
  23. Keep your first date to a specified time limit so you always have an "exit" point
  24. Never feel like you owe it to someone to meet them -- you don't!