University of Toronto Logo

Information + Technology Services

Small normal big

Identity Theft: It Could Happen To You

Identity Theft: It Could Happen To YouIf you think that no one would be interested in your personal information, think again. Anyone can be a victim of identity theft. Identity thieves will look for any information they can find to get access to your financial accounts or other personal assets. Guarding the privacy of your identity while online is critical for both your personal life as well as for your life at UofT. Your UTORid gives you access to authorized information on the UofT network, so it is important to make sure that these access privileges are not abused by others.

Tricks used to steal your identity

  • Social engineering
  • Spam and phishing
  • Risky ads, pop-ups and downloads
  • Fake websites
  • Free software and file sharing

Things you can do

  • Use strong passwords
  • Learn how to spot “phishy” websites and emails
  • Use encrypted connections to the Internet
  • Use secured e-commerce sites for purchases
  • Be wary when asked for your personal information
  • Set privacy settings in your browser\
  • Read website privacy policies
  • Name and address
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Credit card or bank account numbers
  • Passwords

How they do it

  • Stealing – wallets, purses, computers, mobile devices, checks or credit offers/statements sent in the mail
  • Dumpster diving – to find discarded paper files, cds, floppy drives, etc
  • Phishing/spam – fraudulent emails
  • Social engineering – gaining your confidence in person, on the phone, online, postal mail, or through email to extract personal information
  • Shoulder surfing – viewing your log on activities in public spaces
  • Hacking – password guessing, tricking you to download malware, spyware or other software to access information on your computer
Adapted with permission from Massachusetts Institute of Technology IST https://ist.mit.edu/security/identity_theft