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A Student’s Guide to Social Networks

The Division of Students Affairs would like all users to gain a better understanding of the possible pitfalls of social networks such as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and the multitude of Web 2.0 sites on the internet.

  • Personal safety is a priority. By guarding personal information, the potential for stalking and identity theft can be reduced.
  • Remember, social networks are public domain and online imagery can be seen by almost anyone. Future employers are accessing potential employees’ social network pages as part of the hiring process.
  • The University takes student conduct seriously and violation of the conduct policy extends to social networks.
  • Social networks should always be used with caution.

Preventive Measures

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), estimates that just one in seven incidents are even reported.

The IC3 recommends the following measures to protect yourself:

Identity Theft
  • Ensure websites are secure prior to submitting your credit card number.
  • Do your homework to ensure the business or website is legitimate.
  • Attempt to obtain a physical address, rather than a P.O. box or mail-drop.
  • Never throw away credit card or bank statements in usable form.
  • Be aware of missed bills which could indicate your account has been taken over.
  • Be cautious of scams requiring you to provide your personal information.
  • Never give your credit card number over the phone unless you make the call.
  • Monitor your credit statements monthly for any fraudulent activity.
  • Report unauthorized transactions to your bank or credit card company as soon as possible.
  • Review a copy of your credit report at least once a year.
  • Be suspicious of any unsolicited email requesting personal information.
  • Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal information.
  • Always compare the link in the email to the link that you are actually directed to.
  • Log on to the official website, instead of "linking" to it from an unsolicited email.
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify if the email is genuine.

On-line Resources

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

The IC3 gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations.


Practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.

My Space Safety Tips.com

Tips for Teens and Parents on How to Use MySpace.com safely and responsibly.

The Federal Trade Commission

The nation’s consumer protection agency is urging kids to add one more lesson to the list: Don’t post information about yourself online that you don’t want the whole world to know.

West Philadelphia Campus Community Consortium to Reduce Violence Crimes Against Women

This Philadelphia community website provides is a vital resource and provides important information for men and women on personal safety including a video about safe usage of social networks.

For specific University-related information, please contact:

Student Affairs:

Ross Radish, Assistant Dean of Students

Public Safety and Security:

Shawn Woods, Director Operations and Special Projects

Student Health and Counseling:

Paul Furtaw, Director

Did You Know?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has seen a 33% increase in Internet crime between 2007 and 2008. The total dollar loss from all referred cases of fraud was $264.6 million up from $239.1 million in 2007.

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