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[MESSAGE] COVID-19 phishing scams targeting students and staff

Friday, March 20, 2020 - 2:58pm

To the UTM Community,

Universities across North America have reported an increase in email, text and phone scams targeting students and staff.

Phishing scams are often used by cybercriminals to gain access to financial and/or account information.

A malicious actor may ask for:

  • Your personal contact information so they can attempt to contact your outside of U of T channels.
  • They may ask you to purchase gift cards or to send money.
  • They may pose as a health or university authority with urgent information, asking you to click on malicious links or download and open malware.
  • They may pretend to be a colleague.

How you can protect yourself:

  • Be wary of any urgent emails, texts, or phone calls that require a quick response. Double check the sender information, ask a colleague, or try to contact the sender through another channel to confirm the request.
  • Before clicking on links or opening email attachments, make sure it was sent by a trusted source and that they intended to send it to you.
  • Never respond directly to a suspected phishing email.
  • Avoid sharing personal information via email, text message, or over the phone, if you do not know for certain who the caller is or who they are calling on behalf of.
  • If you suspect a message is a phishing scam, forward it to
  • If you think you may have accidentally fallen for a phishing scam, change your password immediately and contact

The UTM Service Desk will never ask for your username and password by email. For more information, please visit the I&ITS website.


More information