Identity theft affected 12.6 million people in 2012. Identity theft – when personal information is stolen and used to manipulate a victims accounts – commonly involves the victim’s finances and can wreak havoc on their credit rating and reputation. Be sure to read about how to protect yourself from pharming and other common forms of ID theft.
Students are at increased risk of identity theft due to risky behaviour:
- Your address, date of birth and social security number are all tied to your student ID. Protect it as you would other confidential information and never give away the your password for student online services.
- Forgetting to sign out of university public computers is extremely dangerous as many require access to your student number and password to log on.
- Some of the most common lost items in university libraries are pieces of identification. Student IDs, drivers licences and even passports are commonly found at public printers and copiers. Be aware of your surroundings. Remember college age adults are at higher risk of identity theft.
Other people can use your private information for personal gain. If you submit any kind of information on the internet, you need to be aware of the ways in which identity theft can happen. Identity thieves can:
Set up a phony public account in your name and damage your reputation.
Gain access to your passwords and email accounts.
Purchase services or items, including telephone numbers, using your name and address.
Apply for and use bank accounts and credit cards in your name.
- Use government services like passports and medical care in your name.
In order to avoid the above from happening to you, you need to protect these 5 details that identity thieves use to impersonate you,
- Social Insurance Number (SIN). Note: The only people that should ever require this information from you are employers, financial institutions and the government.
- Bank account numbers. Note: Also avoid using debit cards online. Credit cards offer better leverage if you run into trouble.
- Birth date.
- Phone number(s).
Be very careful with whom you share this information and avoid making it accessible on social networking sites.
Check your bank accounts and credit card statements regularly and contact your bank about any suspicious charges.
Don’t forget that identity thieves use other strategies outside of the internet. For this reason, always shred or tear up letters and documents that have any personal or financial data on them before recycling, and be cautious when giving sensitive information over the phone.
- The College Student’s Guide to Identity Theft |Scam Busters
- 10 Tops for College Students to Prevent Identity Theft | Trulioo.com (2015)
- Identity Theft and Identity Fraud | RCMP
- Identity Theft | Consumer Handbook
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime (2009)
- Identity Theft | You Tube (2014)
- Identity Theft Stories | Buzzfeed (2015)
- Identifying and Preventing Identity Theft Video | CBC News (2015)
The Digital Tattoo Project encourages critical discussion on topics surrounding digital citizenship and online identity. There are no correct answers and every person will view these topics from a different perspective. Be sure to complete the previous sections before answering the questions.
- Have you ever experienced identity theft? If yes, what did you do?