1) What can Canada learn from the international community regarding digital identity and privacy?
It’s no surprise that Canada’s neighbor – the United States – experiences the highest number of identity theft and fraud incidents (two of the greatest concerns when it comes to digital identity and privacy). Interestingly though, while Americans are one of the biggest targets for fraudsters, Russia is considered the main source of identity theft, with their hackers known as the biggest supplier of fraudulent credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII). It’s clear that identity theft and fraud are a global problem, with a record 421 billion records stolen worldwide in 2016.
Right now, Canada sits at #11 in the world for identity theft rates – partly because of the country’s strong economy and high number of internet users. While identity theft and fraud isn’t as prevalent in Canada as in their Northern American counterpart, there’s a lot to learn from these more mature markets. This gives Canada a significant advantage, as they have the opportunity to analyze identity theft trends impacting larger countries, and thereby implement the best practices to stay ahead of these threats. Increasingly, Americans are learning how to protect themselves as consumers so that they are less attractive targets for fraudsters. This is partly due to the fact that identity theft and fraud have become so commonplace in the U.S. Canadians, however, should not wait for these crimes to grow in their country before becoming proactive and educating themselves about how to mitigate these risks. One of the easiest ways for individuals to protect their digital identities is to conduct their own due diligence, and use the extensive identity protection resources that are readily available online. The time to start is now – not after identity thieves decide to zero in on them.
2) How can a lack of digital identity and privacy measures in the health care industry have negative medical impacts on patients? What is medical identity fraud? How can increased digital identity and privacy measures protect citizens from becoming a victim of medical identity fraud?
The ramifications and serious consequences are numerous when it comes to medical identity fraud. The lack of digital identity and privacy measures in the health care industry only makes it easier for fraudsters to commit the crime. When consumers’ medical information gets into the wrong hands, it can be used to procure expensive medical services, prescriptions, and devices. If a medical identity thief is using your information, these fraudulent acts will go on your record – often leaving you with mounting medical bills. Even more important, however, is the dangerous aftermath of all the fraudsters’ medical treatment, diagnoses, and history getting mixed up with your own. Often, it’s difficult for victims to get these records redacted or corrected, complicating and possibly ruining their health records for years to come. Another sobering possibility is that if a patient is in a life-threatening situation and needs blood, for instance, the hospital could have the fraudsters’ blood type on file, making the circumstances even more dangerous.
Medical identity fraud is the illegal access and use of a patient’s PII to obtain medical treatment, services, or goods. Increasing digital identity and privacy measures is one of the best ways to help protect citizens from the possibility of medical identity fraud. It’s a two-part process, however: individuals have to do their part just as much as hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare entities. The more security and awareness there is surrounding health care information and the importance of keeping it safeguarded, the harder it will be for identity criminals to access it and, ultimately, use it fraudulently.
3) Briefly describe the various types of identity fraud that increased digital identity, security, and privacy measures can help prevent?
Increased digital identity, security and privacy measures can help prevent all types of identity fraud. When it comes to securing your identity, stronger preventative measures result in less fraud, protecting yourself from the following and more:
Credit or debit card fraud – your credit or debit card is used to make fraudulent purchases or to illegally obtain funds
Medical identity fraud – your PII is used to obtain medical services or goods
Loan fraud – your PII is used to obtain a loan in your name, which will ultimately be added to your credit report (and chances are essentially zero that your identity thief will make any payments)
Tax fraud – your Social Insurance Number is used to fraudulently file a tax return to receive a refund
Employment fraud – undocumented workers or other individuals may use your Social Insurance Number to get a job
No preventative measures are foolproof, however, so having an identity protection provider is ultimately the best option, as this means your identity and credit profile are always being monitored by a team of certified experts. Alerts are sent at the first signs of suspicious activity so that action can be taken immediately, minimizing any damage. The best providers will also include online data protection software to protect users from phishing and keylogging attacks. Most importantly, if you ever were to fall victim to identity theft or fraud, your service should include 24/7 access to certified identity theft resolution specialists that will work tirelessly on your behalf to rectify the situation. Even the strongest technology solutions are not infallible, and working with empathetic and knowledgeable experts is critical to restore your identity to good health, and to provide you with peace of mind during what can otherwise be an emotionally draining process.
What Attendees are saying
“The only conference in Canada where one can meet the who’s who of knowledgeable people and champions of digital identity to discuss the real issues and opportunities in this space.” Dave Nikolejsin, Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines at Government of British Columbia
“A fantastic platform bringing together Canadian thought leaders and key industry experts to promote innovation in digital identity and authentication.” Mike Vanderkaden, VP Corporate Development, Equifax Canada