Florida Gulf Coast University is a public institution and is open to the public during the day and evening hours when classes are in session.
During the times that FGCU is officially closed, buildings are generally locked. The University Police and Safety Department regularly patrols buildings and parking lots.
While university campuses are generally safe places, there are no guarantees that you won’t become the victim of a crime. Criminals select their victims based upon their desire, their ability and the opportunity to fulfill their desire. The community and the police department can to do little to effect the desires and abilities of criminals. We can, however, act on the opportunity that is necessary for the completion of criminal activity.
What to do if a crime or crash occurs
Call law enforcement immediately. Even a five-minute delay in reporting a crime can substantially reduce the chance of catching the criminal. For an emergency call 911 or call UPD directly at 239-590-1900 to report a crash or crime.
The FGCU Police Department encourages all students, faculty, and staff to be involved in campus crime prevention. The Community Outreach and Prevention Officer conducts programs on personal safety, facilitates programs for faculty, staff, students, student organizations, and community organizations. Additionally, the FGCUPD conducts programs for housing residents regarding safe living, sexual assault, drugs and alcohol, theft, and other crimes. Below are a list of programs and services available to the FGCU community.
To schedule a program or for more information on our Crime Prevention Classes, contact Officer Myles Kittleson at 239-745-4531, or the Police Dispatch Center at 239-590-1900. You may also e-mail Officer Kittleson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coffee with a Cop
Coffee with a Cop is returning, this time to Dunkin' Donuts and The Link. The mission of Coffee with a Cop is to break down the barriers between police officers and the University community we serve. This no agenda, open mind, meet and greet allows students, faculty, and staff the opprotunity to ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know the officers that work on the FGCU Campus.
Safety & Social Media
Prevention and Wellness, Title IX, and the University Police are teaming up and presenting on the topic of Social Media Safety. Staying safe while surfing the web. The focus of this presentation will include safety on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and also dating sites Tinder, Grinder, etc. We want students to be safe and know that just because you see someone or meet someone online, doesn't mean that is who it really is. Do you know who you're talking to? We will also talk about sending suggestive photos/videos. Do they really go away once someone hits delete?
Arrive Alive Simulator
UPD and Prevention and Wellness have partnered up to bring the UNITE’s Arrive Alive Tour. The tour brings a high-tech simulator, impact video, and a number of other resources to educate individuals and communities about the dangers of distracted driving, drinking while driving and drugged driving. The simulator allows participants to experience, in a controlled environment, the potential consequences of both texting and driving, as well driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. Participants get into an actual vehicle and put on a virtual reality headset. Sensors are connected to the vehicle’s gas/brake pedals and steering wheel, enabling the participant to experience distracted, drunk or drugged driving without the real-life consequences.
ProgramsToggle More Info
The FGCU Police Department offers the following programs:
Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) : This course is available to female students, faculty and staff. This course is held over several days for a couple hours each day. This self-defense program is an intense but easy to learn for practical applications of self-defense.
Self-Defense Awareness & Familiarization Exchange (S.A.F.E.) : This course is available to female students, faculty, and staff. S.A.F.E. is a two-hour long program that provides women with personal safety information and an introduction to the physical aspects of self-defense. S.A.F.E. is an introduction to the R.A.D. program.
Active Shooter : The FGCU Police Department provides two different active shooter presentations that we provide to the FGCU community. We can tailor the program to fit your department or organization's needs.
Operation Identification : This program involves marking personal property with an identifying number as a means of discouraging burglary or theft. In addition to assisting police with a way to identify property should it be stolen and then recovered.
Bicycle Registration : This program involves collecting the bicycle owners information along with the bicycle serial number. The officer then places a UPD bicycle decal on the bicycle, should the it be stolen. It will be easy to recover and contact the owner.
Personal Safety Presentation : Awareness program for students, faculty, and staff to be aware of their surroundings and safety tips for campus.
Drinking and Driving/DUI : Programs regarding the dangers and effects of drinking and driving. This program can be enhanced by using the special designed goggles to simulate different levels of intoxication.
Burglary and Theft Prevention : Program involving awareness and theft prevention techniques for homes, apartments, vehicles, and offices.
Traffic/Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety : Program involving awareness and safety regarding those utilizing vehicles, bicycles, or as a pedestrian.
Scams / Identity Theft : Program involving the different types of scams and how to protect your identity.
Digital Safety and Awareness : Learn out to protect yourself while using various social media networks.
Basic Vehicle Maintenance : Learn the absolute basics about your vehicle and checking certain systems or how to change a flat tire.
Q & A Sessions : Your chance to ask an officer questions whether it is about their vehicle, job, or a law enforcement related question.
ServicesToggle More Info
The FGCU Police Department offers the following services to students, faculty, staff, and visitors of FGCU:
Safety Escorts : Request an officer to walk with you to your office, vehicle, or on-campus apartment.
Motorist Assistance : If you lock your keys in your vehicle or need a jump start. We can assist you.
Physical Security Analysis : We can assist your department with reviewing safety procedures, provide evaluations on your building, office space, or department area to make it a safer environment.
Traffic or Security Details : Are you holding an event on campus? Do you need assistance with traffic direction or safety? Do you need a security detail for your event? We are available to provide security or traffic assistance.
Notary Service : We have a notary available for official document verification. Call 239-745-4531 to schedule.
Emergency Management : Our department has an emergency manager who focuses on creating a secure and resilient university with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that put FGCU at risk.
Code Blue Poles/Boxes : FGCU has over 100 code blue poles in various locations around campus including in parking lots and garages for easy access to UPD.
RAVE Guardian App : FGCU has a free app available to faculty, staff, and students that allows users quick access to 911, UPD, or to submit tips to the university police department. This app also notifies faculty, staff, students, and registering visitors of critical information through text messages, email, social media and other platforms.
Outdoor Siren : Alert siren that is mounted to the top of Griffin Hall that can be heard throughout campus. If you hear the siren, it means seek shelter, await information.
Campus Wide Camera System : Cameras throughout the campus for security monitoring.
Campus AlertsToggle More Info
The FGCU Campus alerts faculty, staff, and students during an emergency through multiple different platforms including a siren, email, text message, Axis TV, FGCU website, social media, and computer notification. Students, faculty, and staff will be aware of a situation within minutes as long as they monitor any of the above systems. Review the Emergency Management website for additional information on the different systems available. https://www.fgcu.edu/emergencymanagement/alerts/
Police ServicesToggle More InfoThe FGCU Police Department is staffed by state-certified law enforcement officers 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. All officers have full arrest powers, can write state traffic citations and parking tickets, and have the same authority as other law enforcement agencies on the FGCU property. The FGCU Police Department also has a 24-hour dispatch center that is staffed by a state-certified dispatcher who can relay calls to law enforcement, fire, and EMS.
Crime Prevention ClassesToggle More InfoFor more information on our Crime Prevention Classes, call Officer Myles Kittleson at 239-745-4531, or the Police Dispatch Center at 239-590-1900. You may also e-mail Officer Kittleson directly at email@example.com.
Silent Witness ProgramToggle More InfoThe Silent Witness Program may be accessed by calling 239-590-1906. This program allows you to report information directly to the police and if you choose, remain anonymous.
HazingToggle More Info
Email questions to HazingPevention@FGCU.edu, which will go to:
- Julie Gleason, Director of Student Involvement
- Michele Yovanovich, Dean of Students
Report Hazing Online Hazing Report Form
Email reports to ReportHazing@FGCU.edu, which will go to:
- Michele Yovanovich, Dean of Students
- Steven Moore, UPD Chief
Preventing TheftToggle More Info
Crime Prevention Tips
- Keep cash, checks, credit cards and books with you at all times. Never leave them unattended even for a brief moment.
- Write your name and student ID number inside your books.
- Keep your car locked at all times to prevent theft.
- When not in use, store computers, lab and audiovisual equipment in a locked office or classroom.
FGCU is located adjacent to a large undeveloped land area to the east, which is a
natural habitat for wildlife. Many animals live on or near campus, so chances are
high that you might encounter them. Most of these encounters will be uneventful, but
there is a chance that you might come across a dangerous animal. Certain wildlife exists
on campus that you should keep a distance from.
First, exercise caution. Don't approach wildlife you can't identify. What may appear as a friendly creature might strike out at you. When they feel cornered, many animals naturally can become violent. They have no idea you are simply curious. They just want to get away and hide. It is okay to watch an animal, but just do it at a safe distance.
Second, never feed wildlife. It is not only dangerous but it can be illegal, and in the worse case the animal may have to be destroyed.
AlligatorsToggle More Info
Alligators can be found in virtually every body of water on campus, and are normally shy creatures. They will flee from humans when approached. But when fed by people, they lose that fear and associate people with food. An alligator that has lost the fear of man can be extremely dangerous, and can approach you looking for food. There are numerous cases in Florida where alligators have attacked people or pets because they have lost the fear of man.
Be aware of the possibility of alligator attacks when in or near fresh or brackish water bodies. Attacks may occur when people do not pay close enough attention to their surroundings when working or
recreating near water.
- Do not swim outside of posted swimming areas or in waters that might be inhabited by large alligators.
- Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn. Therefore, swim only during daylight hours.
- Leave alligators alone. State law prohibits killing, harassing or possessing alligators.
- Never feed or entice alligators – it’s dangerous and illegal. When fed, alligators overcome their natural wariness and learn to associate people with food.
SnakesToggle More Info
Many people have an uncontrollable fear of snakes. Perhaps because man is an animal who stands upright, he has developed a deep rooted aversion to all crawling creatures. And, too, snakes long have been used in folklore to symbolize falseness and evil. The ill-starred idea has no doubt colored human feelings regarding snakes.
Whatever the reason for disfavor, they nonetheless occupy a valuable place in the fauna of the region. On the plus side, snakes help keep in check rodents that threaten crops and, not uncommonly, carry diseases that afflict man.
Of the 44 species of native snakes in Florida, only six are venomous. These are readily recognized by anyone who will take the time to learn a few distinctive field marks.
There are two types of venomous snakes in Florida. The Crotalidae, or pit vipers, and the Elapidae.
- The pit vipers are identified by facial pits, one located between the eye and nostril on each side of the head. The elliptical eye pupil and broad, roughly V-shaped head are the other identifying features of this group. Included in the family are the diamondback rattlesnake, pigmy rattlesnake, and the cottonmouth. The venom of these snakes is haemotoxic, that is, it destroys the red blood cells and the wall of the blood vessels of the victim.
- The Elapidae, represented in Florida by the coral snake, have neurotoxic venom. This attacks the nervous system of a victim, bringing on paralysis.
- The eastern diamondback is the largest and most dangerous of our native snakes. Its’ large body size, quantity of venom, aggressive defensive tactics, and tremendous striking speed make this snake one to be treated with extreme caution. The effective striking distance is from one-third to more than one-half the length of the snake’s body. The snake does not have to be coiled to strike-it can strike from any position and in any direction. When disturbed it generally, but not always, sounds a warning rattle. It may attain a body length of over eight feet, but it is rare to find one over seven feet. Newly born rattlers are equipped with venom and fangs, and can bite.
- The pigmy rattlesnake, also called the ground rattler, is found in every county in Florida. Its rattle is small and slender and produces a sound like the buzzing of an insect. This sound can be heard no more than a few feet away. Most pigmy rattlers measure less than 18 inches in length. This snake has a feisty disposition, and is quick to strike. While its bite can be fatal to humans under certain circumstances, no deaths from the bite of this species have been recorded.
- The cottonmouth moccasin is a pit viper without rattles. It grows to a large size, exceeding five feet in length, but most often averages three feet. When disturbed it draws into a loose coil, cocks its head upwards and opens its mouth to reveal the whitish interior lining, hence the name cottonmouth. It has a quick strike and can bite from any position, even in water. It usually will hold onto its prey and will “chew” to drive its fangs in to deliver venom. It is an unpredictable snake- some are calm while others can be very aggressive. These snakes love the water and are often found in or near any source of water. With immediate and proper medical treatment, the bite is only occasionally fatal to humans.
- The coral snake has the most potent venom of any snake in North America. It is closely related to the cobra, krait, and mamba. It is a shy and secretive, seldom aggressive unless startled, tormented or injured. It has short fangs, and delivers its venom with a chewing motion. Coral snakes are often confused with the harmless scarlet kingsnake, which it closely resembles. They are brightly colored with red, black and yellow bands. A helpful rhyme goes, “red touch yellow, kill a fellow; red touch black, good for Jack”. The red rings of a coral borders the yellow rings. The red of the kingsnake borders the black. Coral snakes are slender bodied and average 24 inches in length. The largest on record measured 47 inches.
Florida is home to millions of residents who enjoy the state's beautiful scenery and warm climate. But few people realize that these qualities also create severe wildfire conditions. Each year, thousands of acres of wild land and many homes are destroyed by fires that can erupt at any time of the year from a variety of causes, including arson, lightning and debris burning. Adding to the fire hazard is the growing number of people living in new communities built in areas that were once wildland. This growth places even greater pressure on the state's wildland firefighters. As a result of this growth, fire protection becomes everyone's responsibility.
WildfiresToggle More Info
Survival in a Vehicle
- This is dangerous and should only be done in an emergency, but you can survive the firestorm if you stay in your car. It is much less dangerous than trying to run from a fire on foot.
- Roll up windows and close air vents. Drive slowly with headlights on. Watch for other vehicles and pedestrians. Do not drive through heavy smoke.
- If you have to stop, park away from the heaviest trees and brush. Turn headlights on and ignition off. Roll up windows and close air vents.
- Get on the floor and cover up with a blanket or coat.
- Stay in the vehicle until the main fire passes.
- Stay in the car. Do not run. Engine may stall and not restart. Air currents may rock the car. Some smoke and sparks may enter the vehicle. Temperature inside will increase. Metal gas tanks and containers rarely explode.
If You Are Trapped at Home
- Stay calm.
- As the fire front approaches, go inside the house.
- You can survive inside.
- The fire will pass before your house burns down.
If Caught in the Open
- The best temporary shelter is in a sparse fuel area. On a steep mountainside, the back side is safer. Avoid canyons, natural "chimneys" and saddles.
- If a road is nearby, lie face down along the road cut or in the ditch on the uphill side. Cover yourself with anything that will shield you from the fire's heat.
- If hiking in the back country, seek a depression with sparse fuel. Clear fuel away from the area while the fire is approaching and then lie face down in the depression and cover yourself. Stay down until after the fire passes.
LightningToggle More Info
In the United States, there are an estimated 25 million lightning flashes each year. During the past 30 years, lightning killed an average of 66 people. This is more than the average of 65 deaths per year caused by tornadoes. Yet because lightning usually claims only one or two victims at a time and does not cause mass destruction of property, it is underrated as a risk. While documented lightning injuries in the United States average about 300 per year, undocumented injuries likely much higher.
- Watch for Developing Thunderstorms: Thunderstorms are most likely to develop on spring or summer days but can occur year round. As the sun heats the air, pockets of warmer air start to rise and cumulus clouds form. Continued heating can cause these clouds to grow vertically into towering cumulus clouds, often the first sign of a developing thunderstorm.
- When to Seek Safe Shelter: Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from area where it is raining. That's about the distance you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance. Seek safe shelter immediately.
- Use the 30-30 Rule: Where visibility is good and there is nothing obstructing your view of the thunderstorm. When you see lightning, count the seconds until you hear thunder. If that time is 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is within 6 miles and is dangerous. Seek shelter immediately. The threat of lightning continues for much longer than most people realize. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before leaving shelter. Don't be fooled by sunshine or blue sky! If it is cloudy or objects such as building or mountains are obscuring your vision, get inside immediately. It is always safer to take precautions than to wait.
- Outdoor Activities: Most lightning deaths and injuries occur in the summer. Where organized outdoor sports activities take place, coaches, camp counselors and other adults must stop activities at the first roar of thunder to ensure everyone time to get a large building or enclosed vehicle. Leaders of outdoors events should have a written plan that all staff are aware of and enforce.
- Indoor Activities: Inside a building, stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity or plumbing. Buy ground fault protectors for key equipment. Follow the 30-30 rule and stop activities at the first clap thunder and wait 30 minutes until after the last thunder strike.
- Helping a Lightning Strike Victim: If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and get medical care immediately. Cardiac arrest and irregularities, burns, and nerve damage are common in cases where people are struck by lightning. However, with proper treatment, including CPR if necessary, most victims survive a lightning strike. You are in no danger helping a lightning victim. The charge will not affect you.
HurricanesToggle More Info
When is Hurricane Season?
June 1-November 30
What Is A Hurricane?
A hurricane is a tropical cyclone, which generally forms in the tropics and is accompanied by thunderstorms and a counterclockwise circulation of winds. Tropical cyclones are classified as follows:
An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds* of 38 mph or less
An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph
An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher
STORM SURGE - is water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level 15 feet or more.
INLAND FLOODING - In the last 30 years, inland flooding has been responsible for more than half the deaths associated with tropical cyclones in the United States.
HIGH WINDS - Hurricane-force winds can destroy poorly constructed buildings and mobile homes. Debris such as signs, roofing material, and small items left outside become flying missiles in hurricanes.
TORNADOES - Hurricanes can produce tornadoes that add to the storm's destructive power. Tornadoes are most likely to occur in the right-front quadrant of the hurricane.
When is a HURRICANE WATCH is issued for my part of the coast what does this indicate?
The possibility that you could experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours. This watch should trigger your family's disaster plan, and proactive measures should be initiated especially those actions that require extra time such as securing a boat, leaving a barrier island, etc.
When is HURRICANE WARNING is issued for my part of the coast, what does this indicate?
That sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 24 hours. Once this warning has been issued, your family should be in the process of completing proactive actions and deciding the safest location to be during the storm.
- Have a family disaster plan and disaster supply kit.
- Build or identify a safe room in your home.
- Purchase and use a NOAA Weather Radio in your home with a tone alert feature. This will allow you to receive warnings issued by your local National Weather Service office.
- Inquire if your community is storm ready.
Extreme Heat/ColdToggle More Info
What is a heat wave?
A heat wave is an extended time interval of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and unusually humid weather. To be a "heat wave" such a period should last at least one day, but conventionally it lasts from several days to several weeks.
What Is the heat index?
The heat index is the "apparent temperature" that describes the combined effect of high air temperature and high humidity. The higher this combination, the more difficult it is for the body to cool itself. If you work outdoors, it is critical that you remain aware of the heat index and take the appropriate precautions.
- Never leave children or pets in a parked car: The temperature can raise to 135 degrees in less than ten minutes, which can cause death to children or pets. If you see a child or pet left unattended in a parked car, you should call 9-1-1 and alert authorities.
- Slow down: Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
- Dress for summer: Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
- Drink plenty of water: Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets, or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages
- Don't take salt tablets unless specified by a physician
- Spend more time in air-conditioned places: Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection.
- Don't get too much sun: Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.
Is cold weather a threat in the Sunshine State?
Yes. During an extreme winter in 1989-90, 26 Floridians died of hypothermia. Because of normally mild temperatures, Florida homes often lack adequate heating and insulation and the Florida outdoor lifestyle leads to danger for those not prepared. In addition to the actual temperature, when the wind blows, a wind chill (the temperature that it feels like) is experienced on exposed skin. When freezing temperatures, or low wind chills are expected, the National Weather Service will issue warnings or advisories.
- Stay indoors and use safe heating sources.
- Be aware of the fire danger from space heaters and candles, keep such devices away from all flammable materials such as curtains and furniture, and install recommended smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Indoors, do not use charcoal or other fuel-burning devices, such as grills that produce carbon monoxide. Install at least one carbon monoxide detector per floor in your home.
- Outdoors, stay dry and in wind protected areas.
- Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting, warm clothing.
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and eat high-caloric foods.
Flooding is one of Florida's most frequent hazards.
There are different reasons a community may flood; storm surge, river flooding or heavy rainfall. Low-lying or poorly drained areas can also increase a community's flood risk. To protect yourself, learn what flood threats affect your community.
- Determine if there are rivers or creeks that flood frequently.
- Is your home located in a low-lying area?
- Determine your home's elevation.
Due to the relatively flat terrain across Florida, it is complicated to drain accumulated water. When rivers rise, water tends to spread out far from riverbanks. In the case of the 1997-98 El Niño floods, rising rivers and repeated periods of heavy rainfall combined to pool water over land miles away from rivers. In fact, normally small rivers turned into vast lakes.
Pooling of water poses a significant risk, not as much from swift moving water, but more from one’s inability to judge water depth. Water only inches deep can be next to water that is several feet deep.
Safety Tip: Flooding and Fire Ants
During flooding, colonies of fire ants are capable of floating in clusters or "rafts," posing a threat to anything encountering them.
After flooding, be cautious as you lift objects. Fire ants can be under anything – from under rocks to old wood or debris on the ground. They can even enter structures through tiny cracks and crevices after a flood. If you are stung, rub off ants briskly. Anyone with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings should consider carrying an EpiPen (epinephrine auto injector) and wear medical identification stating their allergy.
7 Practices for Computer Security
- Protect your personal information. It's valuable.
- Know who you're dealing with.
- Use security software that updates automatically.
- Keep your operating system and Web browser up-to-date, and learn about their security features.
- Keep your passwords safe, secure, and strong.
- Back up important files.
- Learn what to do in an emergency.
Quick FactsToggle More Info
Computers often hold all kinds of personal and financial information. If you’re getting rid of your old computer, there are things to do before you log off for the last time so your hard drive doesn’t become a 21st century treasure chest for identity thieves and information pirates.
- Save important files on an external storage device – for example, a USB drive, a CDRom, or an external hard drive – or transfer them to a new computer.
- “Wipe” your hard drive clean – use software available both online and in stores where computers are sold. They’re generally inexpensive; some are available on the Internet for free.
- If your old computer contains sensitive information that would be valuable to an identity thief, consider using a program that overwrites or wipes the hard drive many times. Or, remove the hard drive, and physically destroy it.
- If you use your computer for business purposes, check with your employer about how
to manage business-related information on your computer. The law requires businesses
to follow data security and disposal requirements for certain information that’s related
Once you have a “clean” computer, consider recycling, donating, or reselling it – and keep the environment in mind when disposing of your computer.
While you're online:
- Know who you're dealing with. In any electronic transaction, independently confirm the other party's name, street address, and telephone number.
- Resist the urge to enter foreign lotteries. These solicitations are phony and illegal.
- Delete requests that claim to be from foreign nationals asking you to help transfer their money through your bank account. They're fraudulent.
- Ignore unsolicited emails that request your money, credit card or account numbers, or other personal information.
- If you are selling something over the Internet, don't accept a potential buyer's offer to send you a check for more than the purchase price, no matter how tempting the plea or convincing the story. End the transaction immediately if someone insists that you wire back funds.
Some email users have lost money to bogus offers that arrived as spam in their in-box. Con artists are very cunning; they know how to make their claims seem legitimate. Some spam messages ask for your business, others invite you to a website with a detailed pitch. Either way, these tips can help you avoid spam scams:
- Protect your personal information. Share credit card or other personal information only when you're buying from a company you know and trust.
- Know who you're dealing with. Don't do business with any company that won't provide its name, street address, and telephone number.
- Take your time. Resist any urge to "act now" despite the offer and the terms. Once you turn over your money, you may never get it back.
- Read the small print. Get all promises in writing and review them carefully before you make a payment or sign a contract.
- Never pay for a "free" gift. Disregard any offer that asks you to pay for a gift or prize. If it's free or a gift, you shouldn't have to pay for it. Free means free.
It's important to protect your personal information, and to take certain steps quickly to minimize the potential damage from identity theft if your information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen:
- Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports, and review those reports carefully. Notifying one of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies is sufficient.
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
- File a police report with local law enforcement officials. This is an essential step in claiming your rights.
- Report your theft to the Federal Trade Commission, online, by phone, or by mail.
Thinking of bidding in an online auction, or selling some of your stuff? Internet auctions are a great resource for shoppers and sellers, but you need to watch out for some pitfalls. Here's how:
- Evaluate how soon you need to receive the item you're bidding on, and whether you can tolerate it being delivered late, or even not delivered. Many complaints about Internet auction fraud involve late shipments, no shipments, or shipments of products that aren't the same quality as advertised.
- Carefully consider your method of payment. Learn what recourse you have if something goes wrong. Don't send cash, and don't use a money wiring service.
- Don't reply to "phishing" emails: messages that look like they've been sent by an auction website or payment service and ask for your password or other personal information.
- Know who you're dealing with. Avoid doing business with sellers you can't identify, especially those who try to lure you off the auction site with promises of a better deal. Confirm the seller's telephone number in case you have questions or problems.
- Know exactly what you're bidding on. Read and print a copy of the seller's description of the product closely, especially the fine print. Save copies of all emails you send and receive from the auction site or seller, too.
Thinking of taking your laptop on the road? It's a great way to work and stay in touch when you're out and about, but you need to take some steps to keep your laptop safe–and in your possession. Here are some things you can do to keep track of your laptop:
- Treat it like cash.
- Get it out of the car,don't ever leave it behind.
- Keep it locked. Use a security cable.
- Keep it off the floor. Or at least between your feet.
- Keep passwords separate. Not near the laptop or case.
- Don't leave it "for just a sec" — no matter where you are.
- Pay attention in airports. Especially at security.
- Use bells and whistles. If you've got an alarm, turn it on.
Malware, short for "malicious software," includes viruses and spyware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. Criminals create appealing websites, desirable downloads, and compelling stories to lure you to links that will download malware – especially on computers that don't use adequate security software. But you can minimize the havoc that malware can wreak and reclaim your computer and electronic information.
If you suspect malware is on your computer:
- Stop shopping, banking, and other online activities that involve user names, passwords, or other sensitive information.
- Confirm that your security software is active and current. At a minimum, your computer should have anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall.
- Once your security software is up-to-date, run it to scan your computer for viruses and spyware, deleting anything the program identifies as a problem.
- If you suspect your computer is still infected, you may want to run a second anti-virus or anti-spyware program – or call in professional help.
- Once your computer is back up and running, think about how malware could have been downloaded to your machine, and what you could do to avoid it in the future.
The Internet allows investors to access account information 24/7, initiate securities transactions from virtually anywhere, and quickly and inexpensively research investment opportunities. But the Internet is not fail-safe. To invest wisely online:
- Protect your passwords for your online investment accounts. Keep passwords in a secure place, and don't share them on the Internet, over email, or on the phone.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall, and keep them up-to-date. If your firewall was shipped in the "off" mode, be sure to turn it on and set it up properly.
- Avoid using public or other shared computers to access your financial accounts online, and use extra caution when using your own computer in a wireless "hot spot."
- Don't believe everything you read in online newsletters, investing blogs, or bulletin boards. Fraud artists often float false information and "hot tips" as part of their efforts to rip-off investors or manipulate the market for a particular security.
- Turn to unbiased sources when researching investments, such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, your state securities regulator, and securities industry self-regulatory organizations (including FINRA, Amex, and Nasdaq).
Shopping on the Internet can be economical, convenient, and no less safe than shopping in a store or by mail. To help keep your online shopping experience a safe one:
- Know who you're dealing with. Confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems. .
- Know exactly what you're buying. Read the seller's description of the product closely, especially the fine print.
- Know what it will cost. Factor shipping and handling — along with your needs and budget — into the total cost of the order.
- Pay by credit or charge card, for maximum consumer protections.
- Check out the terms of the deal, like refund policies and delivery dates.
- Print and save records of your online transactions.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing allows users to share files online through an informal network of computers running the same software. File-sharing can give you access to a wealth of information, but it also has a number of risks. You could download copyright-protected material, pornography, or viruses without meaning to. Or you could mistakenly allow other people to copy files you don't mean to share.
If you're considering P2P file-sharing:
- Install file-sharing software carefully, so that you know what's being shared. Changes you make to the default settings of the "save" or "shared" folder might cause you to share folders and subfolders you don't want to share. Check the proper settings so that other users of the file-sharing network won't have access to your private files, folders, or sub-folders.
- Use a security program from a vendor you know and trust; keep that software and your operating system up-to-date. Some file-sharing software may install malware or adware, and some files may include unwanted content.
- You may want to adjust the file-sharing program's controls so that it is not connected to the P2P network all the time. Some file-sharing programs automatically open every time you turn on your computer and continue to operate even when you "close" them.
- Consider setting up separate user accounts, in addition to the administrator's account, if your computer has multiple users. Limiting rights on user accounts may help protect your computer from unwanted software and your data from unwelcome sharing.
- Back up data you don't want to lose in case of a computer crash, and use a password to protect any files that contain sensitive information.
Phishing is a scam where Internet fraudsters send spam or pop-up messages to lure personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims. To avoid getting hooked:
- Don't reply to email or pop-up messages that ask for personal or financial information, and don't click on links in the message. Don't cut and paste a link from the message into your Web browser — phishers can make links look like they go one place, but that actually send you to a different site.
- Some scammers send an email that appears to be from a legitimate business and ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access a "refund." Because they use Voice over Internet Protocol technology, the area code you call does not reflect where the scammers really are. If you need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly.
- Don't email personal or financial information.
- Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
- If you've been scammed, visit the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft website at ftc.gov/idtheft.
Social Networking Sites
While social networking sites can increase a person's circle of friends, they also can increase exposure to people with less than friendly intentions.
Here are tips for using social networking sites safely:
- 1Limit the amount of personal information you post- do not post information that would make you vulnerable, such as your schedule or routine.
- 1Remember that the internet is a public resource- only post information that you are comfortable with others seeing, once you post information or pictures online, you can't retract it.
- 1Check privacy policies - Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies.
- 1Evaluate your settings - Take advantage of a site's privacy settings. The default settings for some sites may allow anyone to see your profile, but you can customize your settings to restrict access to only certain people.
- 1Be skeptical - Don't believe everything you read online. People may post false or misleading information about various topics, including their own identities.
- 2Know what action to take- If someone is harassing or threatening you, remove them from your friends list, block them, and report them to the site administrator.
- Avoiding sex talk online.
3When you begin college, you are probably on your own for the first time. You are taking on new responsibilities, making your own decisions, and becoming part of the campus community. There is an important role that you can play in your college's cybersecurity efforts that combines these elements of responsibility, decision-making, and community. Check out the STOP. THINK. CONNECT newsletter from www.staysafeonline.org for tips and advice on Internet Safety and Security Tips for College Students by clicking here for ideas on how to keep your devices and your information safe.
Spyware is software installed on your computer without your consent to monitor or control your computer use. Clues that spyware is on a computer may include a barrage of pop-ups, a browser that takes you to sites you don't want, unexpected toolbars or icons on your computer screen, keys that don't work, random error messages, and sluggish performance when opening programs or saving files. In some cases, there may be no symptoms at all.
To lower your risk of spyware infections:
- Update your operating system and Web browser software, and set your browser security high enough to detect unauthorized downloads.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly.
- Download free software only from sites you know and trust. Enticing free software downloads frequently bundle other software, including spyware.
- Don't click on links inside pop-ups.
- Don't click on links in spam or pop-ups that claim to offer anti-spyware software; you may unintentionally be installing spyware.
Voice over Internet Protocol — VoIP — is a new way to make and receive telephone calls using a broadband Internet connection rather than a regular phone line. A VoIP service may offer unlimited local and long distance calls for a fixed price, as well as features like integrated calls and email, and access to your phone line from many locations. Keep in mind:
- Some services allow you to use a traditional telephone through an adaptor, but others work only over your computer or a special VoIP phone.
- Costs include a monthly calling plan as well as a monthly bill for your broadband service.
- VoIP services don't have the same access to some services — including the 911 emergency system and directory assistance — as traditional telephone service.
- If you lose your Internet connection (or lose power), your phone service will be out as well.
- VoIP services can be attacked by computer viruses, worms, or spam over Internet telephony (SPIT).
Wireless Internet access can offer convenience and mobility. But there are steps you should take to protect your wireless network and the computers on it.
- Use encryption to scramble communications over the network. If you have a choice, WiFi Protected Access (WPA) is stronger than Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP).
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall.
- Most wireless routers have a mechanism called identifier broadcasting. Turn it off so your computer won't send a signal to any device in the vicinity announcing its presence.
- Change the identifier on your router from the default so a hacker can't use the manufacturer's default identifier to try to access your network.
- Change your router's pre-set password for administration to something only you know. The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack.
- Allow only specific computers to access your wireless network.
- Turn off your wireless network when you know you won't use it.
- Don't assume that public "hot spots" are secure. You may want to assume that other people can access any information you see or send over a public wireless network.
Who is a disruptive individual?Toggle More Info
From time to time faculty/staff will have a person who is truly disruptive in the classroom or office, making it difficult or impossible for teaching or business to take place. The following guidelines will assist faculty/staff members in dealing with these situations. They are not intended to provide information on classroom management or to tell staff members how to conduct their business.
Who is a disruptive individual?
- An individual who makes threats of physical harm to you, others, or themselves.
- An individual who has a weapon. Refer to Safety Guidelines for Armed Subjects.
- An individual who behaves in a bizarre manner or exhibits unstable behavior patterns.
- The individual who appears to be intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance.
- Some disruptive individuals may have emotional or mental health disorders. Although such individuals may be considered disabled and are protected under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, they are expected to meet the same standards of conduct as any student.
- It is important that faculty establish the standards for his or her classroom and enforce them for all students, in conformance with the principles of academic freedom.
- Some individuals behavior may seem to be bizarre, but not threatening. You may want to discuss the individuals’ behavior with professionals, such as a member of the counseling staff.
- You may also contact the Dean of Students who will consult with appropriate members of the professional staff in developing suggestions for working with the individual.
- Care must be taken to protect the privacy of students.
Actions to takeToggle More Info
In extreme cases in which, in the judgment of the faculty/staff member, an individuals conduct threatens his/her own health and safety or the health and safety of others, or a student is so highly disruptive that instruction cannot take place, immediate removal from the classroom is appropriate.
In such cases, the procedure to be followed is:
What action should I take?
- Contact FGCU Campus Police at 1900 from a campus phone or 239-590-1900 from any phone.
- Give your name and campus location with a brief explanation of the situation.
- Take note of the individual’s age, personal appearance, clothing, vehicle, or any other information that would help identify the individual.
Tactics & what to avoidToggle More Info
Express your authority with non-verbal cues:
- Sit or stand erect.
- Square your shoulders
- Smile and make eye contact
- Speak clearly and distinctly
- Maintain a constant voice volume – do not shout
Cues to avoid:
- Do not touch your face
- Observe the individual’s personal space – do not stand too close
- Do not touch the person
- Do not slouch, glare, or sigh at the individual
Anger management tactics:
- Get their attention: Use their name, ask them to sit down
- Acknowledge their feelings: Paraphrase what they say so they will know you are listening
- Get them moving: Offer a chair, move them to a private area if possible
- Use the word “we” to include them in the solution process
- Tell them exactly what you can do for them and when
- Offer an alternative if appropriate
- Advise co-workers of the potential problem if possible
- Call for aid immediately if you sense the situation is getting out of hand
- Always remain calm – don’t get into a shouting match or altercation