UNIVERSITY PARK – With many students planning to travel during spring break on March 9-15, Penn State University police want to remind students on and off campus to secure their residences before leaving for an extended period of time and to use best practices when traveling.
Police are issuing the following safety tips for students:
- Make sure your friends and relatives know where you will be vacationing, when you will depart, your specific itinerary and expected return date.
- Carry only necessary credit cards and money and separate your funding sources.
- Avoid carrying or displaying large amounts of cash when you shop.
- Carry your purse or wallet in your front pocket.
- Carry your cell phone at all times.
- Be aware of street peddlers with deals that are “too good to pass up.” If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
- Go out with people you know and trust and who will make sure everyone is safe. Watch out for friends who are intoxicated.
- Never hand your wallet to anyone. One scam involves people in police uniform who show phony badges and request to check your wallet for counterfeit money or drug cash. It’s all a ruse to clean out your wallet.
- Beware of photographers who snap your picture without even being asked. This is typically followed by a request to pay them before waiting for them to return from their nearby studio with your pictures. They never come back and neither does your money.
- Lookout for the “free” drink claims. Another popular scam involves being invited to a bar by a friendly native. After a few drinks, your new friend has slipped away and a massive bill awaits.
- Be aware of pickpockets, particularly at large gatherings or on busy streets, and beware of possible diversions — someone spilling something on you or people arguing loudly that is intended to take your mind off of watching your money.
- Another scam involves a found object — such as an expensive item — that a stranger appears to suddenly find on the ground or somewhere else around you. They will try to sell you the item, and at a “bargain” price, but the item is usually fake.
- Overcharging for cab ride is a common way tourists get taken advantage of. One way to try and avoid this is asking ahead of time how much the fare will be and not being afraid to negotiate if the price seems steep.
- Close and lock residence hall doors and windows prior to leaving for break.
- Close all shades, drapes and blinds.
- Take portable items — such as televisions, computers and iPods — home with you.
- Don’t advertise on your door or social media that you are away.
For more information, contact Penn State University police at 814-863-1111 or visit www.police.psu.edu.