Students advised to be wary of outstanding fees phone scam

The FBI office in Traverse City has informed the Oakland University Police Department that its main telephone number, (231) 946-7201, is being spoofed – or being used to falsely appear as the caller’s number – as part of a telephone scam targeting Oakland University students, and particularly international students.

Callers involved claim that they have access to student records and are telling targeted students that they must pay outstanding tuition fees in order to receive their degrees. The callers also stipulate that victims must wire transfer money or use a credit card to resolve the outstanding balances.

The FBI reports that Michigan State University students also have been targeted, and that in one instance a victim forwarded $10,000.

Any Oakland University student contacted by the phone number listed above should terminate the call before engaging in any conversation.

Students concerned about whether they have past due balances or that they are in jeopardy of being denied University services should contact the Office of Student Financial Services at (248) 370-2550.

Any student who feels he or she has been made a victim of this scam should contact the Oakland University Police Department at (248) 370-3331.

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High winds creating need for heightened caution

Campus Community members are advised to exercise extra caution while walking between buildings on campus as a result of high winds and potential dangers they are creating.

University Facilities Management and the Oakland University Police Department have responded to calls concerning falling objects and flying debris, and are working to reduce risks to the full extent possible.

High winds are forecast to continue through the afternoon and early evening hours.

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Parking expansion plan approved for fall 2017

2017 Parking MapThe Oakland University Board of Trustees has approved a $7.2 million plan to expand main campus parking capacity by more than 8 percent, as well as to create a new traffic circle at the intersection of Pioneer Drive and Meadow Brook Road.

Cognizant of overall parking demand that at times has exceeded capacity, University engineers worked with consultants to identify seven sites where parking could be added affordably and with minimal environmental concerns.

In total, 660 spaces will be added and available for use prior to the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year. University leaders project that the added capacity will lead to a maximum parking space utilization rate of 95 percent.

Also part of the project, new emergency blue phones and security cameras will be installed in the P-1, P-37, and P-39 lots.

The addition of the roundabout at Pioneer Drive and Meadow Brook is expected to significantly improve traffic flow. To date, this area has seen periodic traffic congestion, particularly during the evening rush hour when many faculty, staff and students are leaving campus.

Work on the approved parking and road projects will begin on May 1. All will be funded through the use of existing University resources.

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Caution advised as identify theft grows nationwide

A timely reminder at the start of this year’s tax season is to always exercise extreme caution when it comes to protecting your identity and financial security. The prevalence of phishing, identity theft, filing of fraudulent tax returns and other scams continues to grow at an alarming rate.

Beazley Worldwide – the company that provides Oakland University and many other clients insurance for losses tied to data breaches – reports that it saw a 64 percent increase in data breach claims last year alone. Also, a Javelin Strategy and Research report estimates that 15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft or fraud last year, and that the sum of their loses was $16 billion.

The scams criminals are using to steal sensitive personal information are steadily becoming more sophisticated, which warrants ever increasing vigilance. Although institutions around the world are working to enhance data security systems, the first and most effective line of defense is individual precaution. Important tips to remember are:

  • Never share personal information – such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, login IDs, passwords, etc. – using email, text messages or websites if there is even a hint of doubt as to their legitimacy. Also, do not click on any links, buttons or pop-up windows in such cases.
  • Resolve any concerns about your data or financial security by contacting the organization purportedly seeking information using an independently verified phone number, email address or website address.
  • Check your credit report periodically by calling (877) 322-8228 or by visiting annualcreditreport.com . Address any suspicious or unexpected activity immediately.
  • If you are paid through direct deposit, carefully review your pay stub each pay period to ensure that the personal information listed there is accurate.
  • Remember that any messages that are unfamiliar, unexpected, don’t make sense or seem too good to be true are likely fraudulent.
  • Google Mail users can flag suspicious email by clicking on the downward pointing triangle at the top right of the email message and selecting the “Report phishing” option.
If You Think You Are A Victim of Identity Theft Or Other Form Of Fraud
  • File a report with your local law enforcement agency.
  • Consider placing an initial fraud alert on your credit files using one of the three major credit bureaus:
If You Think You Are A Victim of Tax Return Fraud
  • Call the IRS at (800) 908-4490, ext. 245. The unit office is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Seek direction on whether to file an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039). The form can be downloaded at irs.gov .
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Caution advised when driving near road maintenance vehicles

Snow on campusThe Oakland University Police Department is advising campus community members to exercise extra caution and to adhere to all applicable traffic laws when driving near road maintenance vehicles.

Both University Facilities Maintenance personnel and nearby commuters are placed in hazardous conditions when drivers:

  • Fail to yield right of way – MCL 257.649
  • Fail to maintain safe following distances (tailgating) – MCL 257.643
  • Attempt to pass in no-passing zones (drivers should note that there are no legal passing zones on main campus) – MCL 257.640
  • Travel at speeds too fast for road conditions (basic speed law) – MCL 257.627, and
  • Execute other unsafe or prohibited vehicle maneuvers (careless driving) – MCL 257.626b

According to the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, motorists must maintain a distance of 500 feet from large vehicles – specifically, those in excess of 5,000 pounds – such as road plows and salt trucks.

Campus community members should also be wary that these vehicles frequently stop, travel in reverse and change lanes while drivers work to keep campus roadways and parking lots clear for vehicular travel.

The Oakland University Police Department is committed to maintaining a safe commuting environment. The understanding and cooperation of the campus community is appreciated in these efforts.

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Students advised to be wary of job offer scam

Oakland University students are advised to be wary of a prevalent employment scam that offers phony job opportunities on college employment websites or by way of direct email solicitations.

In short, the scam promotes administrative or other positions that require students to purchase necessary equipment, materials or software using a check they receive from the purported employer. The checks being sent, however, are fraudulent.

Victims of the scam can suffer financial loss, may have their bank account closed, could see their credit record negatively impacted and may be left more vulnerable to identity theft.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a FBI PSA – 17-1-18  with greater detail on communications used in this scam, key indications that a job offer is fraudulent, and measures students can take to prevent themselves from being victimized.

Any student who has become a victim of such a scam is encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov or notify the Oakland University Police Department.

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P-16 to be closed for 2017 WinterFest

The P-16 parking lot – located between O’Dowd Hall and Fitzgerald, Anibal and Pryale Houses – will be closed in preparation for and during the Department of Athletics’ 2017 WinterFest.The lots will be closed at 11 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, and will remain closed through the evening of Friday, Jan. 27. The lots will reopen for normal use at noon on Saturday.

The lots will be closed at 11 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, and will remain closed through the evening of Friday, Jan. 27. The lots will reopen for normal use at noon on Saturday.

Campus community members accustomed to using the P-16 parking lot should plan ahead to use alternative lots.

Your patience and cooperation is appreciated during major events that advance and promote Oakland University.

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Campus mail to no longer be delivered to 2200 N Squirrel Rd.

To ensure that agencies such as fire departments and ambulance services are able to respond to the exact location of campus emergencies as quickly as possible, the University began using unique street addresses for each of its buildings last spring.

The U.S. Postal Service has observed a transition period since that time, and delivered campus mail whether it was addressed to a building’s unique street address or to the University’s existing 2200 N Squirrel Rd. address.

As of Tuesday, February 28, 2017, the U.S. Postal Service will no longer deliver campus mail addressed to 2200 N Squirrel Rd.

As such, all University vendors, partners, supporters and other associates who are not already doing so will need to begin using unique building addresses. Several examples of how mail should be addressed are available on the OUPD How to Address Mail web page.

It is critical that University faculty and staff inform the people they work with about this change. Failure to use unique building addresses will lead to mail being returned to the sender, which may in turn lead to delays in the management of University business.

To help communicate new building addresses, University Communications and Marketing (UC&M) will provide any department or unit with 100 individualized mailing labels such as the Oakland University Police Department (OUPD) label pictured. Those interested in obtaining these labels should contact their UC&M account manager .

Departments and unit employees not already using unique building addresses in outgoing mail, email, web and other communications will need to begin doing so as soon as possible. All printed materials shared with outside organizations and individuals, including employee business cards, will need to include unique building addresses.

The U.S. Postal Service is also advising the University to use standard street type abbreviations such as Ave., Blvd., Dr., Ln., Rd., St., etc. when addressing mail, as this will result in more efficient processing and delivery.

Finally, department and unit web content managers must update any outdated location information included in the main content areas they maintain. The 2200 N Squirrel Rd. address should no longer appear in any web content.

Those seeking additional information on the campus addressing system are encouraged to view resources available on the OUPD Campus Addresses web page, or to contact Police Support Services at (248) 370-3407 or servicedesk@oupolice.com .

As always, University leadership appreciates the support and cooperation of faculty and staff helping to ensure that University operations continue to be managed efficiently.

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Tony Van Houten joins communications team

Van Houten answers a call in OUPD's communications center.

The Oakland University Police Department welcomes Tony Van Houten to the communications team.  Van Houten joins the OU Police Department following an honorable 28-year career with the Oxford, Michigan Police Department .

Van Houten is married with three children.  The oldest is an Oakland University alumnus.

In his free time, Van Houten enjoys watching sports, especially hockey and soccer.  His passion for sports drove him to coach both boys and girls high school soccer at Lapeer West for eight years prior to its closure at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.  Van Houten also enjoys a good round of golf.

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New Bear Bus route developed to help ease parking congestion

Starting on Tuesday, January 17, the new Bear Bus Express Route will travel from the P-35 and P-37 parking lots on the south side of campus and make stops at the Mathematics and Science Center and the Engineering Center.Frequent pick-ups to add convenience to parking in south campus lots

Oakland University Student Congress , the Oakland University Police Department and the Bear Bus team collaborated on an effort to relieve campus parking congestion and make it easier for commuting students to find a parking spot and get to class.

Starting Tuesday, Jan. 17, the new Bear Bus Express Route will travel from the P-35 and P-37 parking lots on the south side of campus and make stops at the Mathematics and Science Center and the Engineering Center. This shuttle will offer continuous point-to-point service from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

As an incentive to promote the new Express Route, riders will get a Bear Bus Express Rewards Card that will be redeemable for OU swag at the Student Congress office in the lower level of the Oakland Center.

Those wishing to learn more about the Bear Bus system, including full system routes and hours of operation, can do so by visiting oakland.edu/bearbus . Riders wishing to get Express Route information can do that by calling the Black Lightning phone number at (248) 259-5247.

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