TC Public Safety provides crime prevention information and seminars to members of the Teachers College community. During orientation week, crime prevention presentations and information is made available to incoming students. Throughout the year, TC PS in collaboration with CU PS, provides lectures on personal safety, the safeguarding of personal property as well as other informative information. A PS manager is available for presentations to campus organizations, student groups and TC departments.
Campus emergency call boxes are located at the following locations:
Teachers College Campus - 120th Street (see info above)
If your identity is stolen
Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus. Tell them that you're an identity theft victim. Request that a "fraud alert" be placed in your file, along with a victim's statement asking that creditors call you before opening any new accounts or changing your existing accounts.
Contact the creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Speak with someone in the security/fraud department of each creditor, and follow up with a letter.
If your Social Security number has been used illegally, contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
File a report with Public Safety or the Police in the community where the identity theft took place. Get a copy of the police report in case the bank, credit card company or others need proof of the crime.
Keep records of everything involved in your efforts to clear up fraud, including copies of written correspondence and records of telephone calls.
Local businesses have partnered and registered with the CU Department of Public Safety and pledge to assist Columbia affiliates in distress by contacting Public Safety or the NYPD. These businesses display a distinctive logo on their storefronts as part of the safety program called "SAFE HAVEN". Safe Haven locations are throughout the Morningside Heights Community and offer a safe area for students, faculty, or their guests if they feel threatened while walking on the city streets.
If you suspect you are being followed, indicate your suspicion by looking behind you. If you are on foot, cross the street, change direction, or vary your speed. Walk to a location where there are other people, to the nearest open store, or to a Columbia University "SAFE HAVEN" location (RED LION DECAL ON WINDOW).
Property Identification Programs to Safeguard Property - provided by the Columbia University Department of Public Safety, and available to TC community members:
Columbia participates in this nationwide program that aims to deter theft by permanently identifying valuables. The Department will mark valuable property with an indelible, inconspicuous, specially assigned number. It is recommended that you retain a photograph of anything that cannot be engraved and an up-to-date property inventory with model and serial numbers.
Operation Blue Light
This program allows Public Safety personnel to mark property with an invisible ink discernible under a special light.
PC Phone Home This innovative program is available to all members of the Columbia community. It allows authorities to locate a lost or stolen computer by identifying its location when the machine is connected to the Internet. This program is effective in any location, worldwide.
Stop Theft Tags
These tags possess a unique ID number that is entered into the STOPTHEFT database. This allows lost or stolen property to be reunited with its owner.
The Department of Public Safety provides free registration for all bicycles. A unique ID number is applied to the bicycle and registered with the NYPD. A permanent decal is affixed to the bicycle.
Auto VIN Etching
Unique vehicle identification numbers (VIN) are etched into a car’s windows. This program reduces the risk of the vehicle’s being stolen by making the window glass traceable. It also aids police in recovering stolen vehicles by making them identifiable and can result in reduced insurance premiums.
Theft is the unlawful taking of personal property and is the single most common crime on most college campuses. What can you do to prevent THEFT? Simply remove the opportunity by following the suggestions below:
OFFICES AND CLASSROOMS
Several times each year, self-defense instructors provide hands-on training at the CU campuses. These events are extremely popular, and reservations are required. Check the Announcement area for upcoming dates.
If you would like more information on any of the listed topics or if you would like to schedule a class, contact PS at 212-678-3340.
Dear TC Community,
There has been an uptick in frauds and scams directed at members of the TC
community, especially our international students. Protect yourself by becoming aware
of the latest scams.
FAKE APARTMENT SCAM: The online fraudster will pretend to be a legitimate real
estate agent and offer the victim a “too good to be true” apartment rental. They will say
the apartment may not be visited and will solicit payment via cell phone apps. The
apartment will never be delivered, and the victim’s funds are forever gone.
Warning signs: 1. The broker says the apartment cannot be inspected
2. The broker is not available to meet in person
3. The broker solicits funds via payment apps
FAKE JOB SCAM: The online fraudster will post a job using a fake .edu email, and in
the body of the listing will request that the victim email them at a different email address
because they are traveling. The fraudster will then mail a check to the victim and have
the victim cash it with the promise that a portion of the check is for pay. The fraudster
then requests the remaining funds be used to buy gift cards and asks for the serial
numbers. Several days later, the victim’s bank rejects the check and the victim is
responsible for the entire amount.
Warning signs: 1. The job posting directs to a different email
2. The person offering the job is never available to meet
3. The person sends a check and requests gift cards in return
FAKE DEPORTATION/ARREST WARRANT SCAM: The fraudster will call the victim
from a telephone number that displays Washington D.C. or another government hub city
as the location. The caller will claim to be from a government agency (DHS, USCIS,
IRS, etc.) and will say there is a warrant or deportation order and that the victim is in
serious and imminent legal trouble. The caller will know many personal details about
the victim. At some point, the caller will say the matter can be resolved through the
payment of fines and/or legal fees and will demand payment be sent via payment apps,
cryptocurrency, or gift cards. The victim does as instructed only to discover it was all a
ruse and their funds are gone forever.
Warning signs: 1. Calls from the “government” requesting payment over the phone
2. Demands for payment by cryptocurrency, gift cards, or apps
3. Unheard of fines or legal costs
UPDATE: A new variation of this scam is targeting the International Student
Community. The caller will pretend to be with a government agency from the student’s
country of origin.
FAKE CHECK CASHING SCAM: The fraudster will approach the victim with a check
that needs to be cashed, claiming that they themselves are unable to cash it because
they don’t have a bank account. The fraudster will offer the victim a small portion of the
proceeds in return. The victim deposits the check and immediately withdraws cash for
the fraudster. Several days later the check bounces and the victim is responsible for the
entire amount of the fake check.
Warning: Do not cash a check for someone you do not personally know and trust.
TEXT PHISHING SCAM: The victim receives a text message advising that the
password to their bank account has been compromised. The text message directs the
victim to click on a hyperlink to change their password. The victim clicks on the link
and logs into the bank account, but this is a fake login page and the scammers now
have the victim’s login credentials and thus proceed to drain the victim's bank account.
Warning sign: Any text message that directs the receiver to click on a hyperlink to sign
into their financial accounts is a phishing scam.
*No government agency will ever demand payment over the phone or via Zelle,
Cashapp, Venmo, etc.
*Telephone numbers are easily spoofed and may have nothing to do with the reality of
who is calling you.
*Email name headings and addresses can easily be made to look official. Anyone can
purchase an internet domain for a relatively low cost.
*In the digital age, unfortunately, all of our personal information is on sale for cheap,
both on the web and dark web, so fraudulent callers may seem to know a lot about you.
*Apartment listings that are well under market rents are usually frauds. Use a NYS
Licensed Real Estate Broker with a physical office to avoid scams.
*Once the money is sent by wire, or via Venmo, Cashapp, Zelle, or any similar electronic
payment app, it cannot be recouped.
The Office of Public Safety is here to help prevent you from becoming the victim of fraud or scams.
If you have any doubts about a transaction, please feel free to consult with us before you
For additional information or questions please contact the Office of Public Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org