By: Andre Boysen, Chief Identity Officer, SecureKey Technologies
Since the outset of the pandemic, most Canadians are doing more online than ever. Concerningly, as a result, reports of fraud in Canada have skyrocketed in comparison to the pre-pandemic benchmark as 4,833 Canadians have already filed reports regarding identity fraud in 2021, in addition to the 68,452 reports from 2020. Additionally, between March 2020 and February 2021, 11,789 Canadians have fallen victim to COVID-19 fraud with a total of $7.2 million lost in relation to the pandemic.
This indicates that while progress has been made in growing awareness of cybersecurity threats, there is still work to be done in terms of Canadians’ understanding of common fraud threats. In an attempt to keep the privacy of Canadians safe, Fraud Prevention Month raises awareness and equips Canadians with the information they need to recognize, reject and report fraud, following the most damaging year to date. As we work through tax season virtually, Canadians need to be more vigilant than ever to minimize the chances of cyber crime and fraud. It is critical for taxpayers to do what they can to ensure their personal data is secure, especially as the sending and receiving of financial transactions will undoubtedly increase in during tax season.
Escape the risks of identity fraud
Fraud Prevention Month is a campaign built to minimize fraudulent activity by promoting anti-fraud awareness and educational practices, keeping Canadians mindful of identity theft, debit and credit card fraud, phishing and more. One solution to mitigate this ongoing issue and keep Canadians’ information safe is Government Sign-In by Verified.Me. Government Sign-In by Verified.Me eliminates the need to create and manage a new user ID and password for Canadians looking to access a range of government services online. Instead, users can gain secure access to government websites by signing in with online banking credentials they already know and trust from a list of Trusted Sign-In Partners that represent Canada’s leading financial institutions. All the protections your bank offers for your financial account will help you guard against fraud when conduction your government transactions. Formerly known as SecureKey Concierge, the service was recently rebranded to reflect the Verified.Me umbrella of digital identity tools and solutions offered by SecureKey.
Introducing more secure digital ID for government-issued credentials
The Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) implementation of Government Sign-In by Verified.Me has been extremely beneficial in maintaining seamless and secure access to online government services throughout the course of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Government Sign-In by Verified.Me has experienced an exponential increase in volume of users connecting to critical online services, having gone from 100 transactions per second pre-pandemic to 800 transactions per second amid the pandemic. With fraudulent activity in Canada on the rise and with Canadians about to tackle tax season remotely, taxpayers can be confident in their online privacy, as Government Sign-In by Verified.Me uses our Triple Blind® capabilities that prevent all parties – the financial institution, the government service and the network operator – from knowing from where and with whom citizens are engaging online.
Beware of digital tax scams
To help keep digital identities secure, here are a few preventative measures outlined by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to stay safe during and beyond this tax season:
- Beware of unsolicited calls, emails and texts requesting urgent action or payment and/or offering financial relief or government assistance and compensation.
- Avoid calls and emails that suggest your tax calculation has been completed and instruct you to receive a tax refund by going through a link and submitting information.
- Do not engage in messages indicating you will receive an e-transfer from the CRA. CRA only does direct deposit or paper cheques. CRA does not e-transfer tax refunds.
- Hang up immediately if there is anything suspicious or unprofessional about the call – the CRA will never threaten you with immediate arrest, use abusive language or send police. If the call is real, CRA will always follow up with mail to your mailing address, so don’t fall for pressure tactics on the phone. If you do need to pay CRA the best ways are through online banking or by mailing a cheque directly.
Government Sign-In by Verified.Me helps mitigate these problems by providing a secure and private way to access online government services. The service is designed to keep users safe and secure and will never send unprompted emails or text messages.
For more information on these fraud prevention measures and how to keep your information safe, visit: antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.
To learn more about Government Sign-In by Verified.Me, visit:
About Andre Boysen
Andre is responsible for positioning SecureKey’s growth strategy, cultivating opportunities in new and existing markets, and promoting demand for the company’s solutions globally. He serves as SecureKey’s digital identity evangelist. He was recognized as a global leader in digital identity by One World Identity (2017) and Innovate Identity (2016). Andre serves on the boards of the identity standards organizations of DIACC and the Kantara initiative.
Prior to joining SecureKey, Andre co-founded and served as chief technology officer of 724 Solutions Inc. Previously, he served as chief technology officer for Footprint Software and as chief executive officer for the company’s Asia Pacific business. In 1999, he was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in recognition of his vision and accomplishments. From 1990 to 1994, he served as chief executive officer of Open Systems Limited. Andre has also served on the boards of 724 Solutions Inc., Dexit Inc., Footprint Software Pty. Ltd., and 305 Management Services.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Ottawa, an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education from the University of Maine at Presque Isle. He currently lectures at Wilfred Laurier’s Schlegel Entrepreneurship Centre.
ttee and co-chair of the Decentralized Identity Foundation Sidetree Working Group.