Bolstering contact centre security with voice biometrics

According to financial fraud action, more than 1 million incidents of financial fraud happened in the first half of this year, equating to 1 incident every 15 seconds.

This is a 53% increase over the same period in 2015 and demonstrates a worrying trend for all consumers.

The good news is banks are fighting back. Indeed, banks managed to stop £7 in every £10 of attempted fraud from happening last year, a commendable achievement in a time where professional fraud has never been more prevalent or technologically advanced in many cases.

The online side of security in particular has come on leaps and bounds recently, with multi-factor authentication, behavioural monitoring and identity based management all helping to greatly improve data security.

However, at present the same cannot be said for phone-based contact, which still significantly lags behind its online counterpart.

As a result, telephone agents in the contact centre are becoming an increasingly attractive target for criminals looking to take advantage of poor phone security practices.

Conventional identity-based security simply doesn’t work anymore

When most of us call a contact centre, after a few simple identity-based questions such as name, address and date of birth, we are given complete freedom over our account.

>See also: The voice of reason: how voice authentication could help fight identity fraud

Unfortunately, the same goes for a fraudster able to correctly answer the same questions, with many of the answers freely available on the internet.

Telephone fraud also represents a low risk, low cost method for perpetrators, that is easy to carry out from anywhere thanks to the growth of VoIP networks.

The rudimentary technology-based security that can sometimes be in place such as caller ID and automatic number identification (ANI) can also be easily fooled using simple spoofing technology, making the chances of being caught extremely low.

For this reason it is estimated that between 30-50% of all fraud incidents are initiated with a phone call, meaning telephone agents in contact centres are particularly vulnerable to social engineering and manipulation.

Furthermore, the average contact centre agent will only be dealing with a fraudster once in approximately every 2000 calls, meaning that identifying and handling them is not a core competency for most.

Because of this, a growing number of businesses are looking at innovative new technology-based solutions such as voice biometrics in order to protect their contact centre agents and prevent fraud.

Why voice biometrics is so effective

The main reason that voice biometrics can be so effective is because research shows over 95% of fraudulent call attempts are in fact repeat attacks by the same group of professional criminals.

This has allowed authorities around the world to build up a global database of known fraudsters and their voice signatures.

>See also: Think before you speak: voice recognition replacing the password

A voice biometrics solution will compare all callers against this database and quickly identify fraudsters.

In these instances, it doesn’t matter how skilled a fraudster is at social engineering or manipulation, the agent will be immediately notified so they can quarantine the perpetrator from any sensitive information.

An additional benefit is that the entire biometric process is completely transparent, meaning callers will not even know biometric verification is taking place unless an issue is raised with caller authenticity.

Voice biometrics can also be combined with additional security measures such as intelligent fraud detection in order to catch criminals who may not be in the global voice database yet.

Intelligent fraud detection scores all calls against key risk factors such as audio characteristics, geo-location and phone number reputation.

Within the first 30 seconds of a call, the agent receives an on-screen notification displaying the call’s overall risk score, along with custom instructions for how to further authenticate the call as necessary.

Combining several different technology-based fraud detection systems in order to create the widest possible protection net is by far the best way to ensure customers and their data remain safely under lock and key, away from criminal hands.

Voice biometrics isn’t just about security

In addition to bolstering security, voice biometric systems can also help to improve the customer journey and reduce overall call handling times.

Businesses can quickly build up their own database of genuine customer voice signatures.

This means that whenever a customer calls in, they can be instantly identified without the need for the agent to ask identity-based questions each and every time, saving precious seconds.

>See also: Are the Brits too trusting of biometric security?

Internet-based security has seen a number of significant security improvements in recent years, but telephone security in many businesses still lags dangerously behind.

Sadly, this makes telephone agents in call centres a prime target for professional fraudsters.

However, the introduction of an effective voice biometrics system, ideally alongside additional measures such as intelligent fraud detection can significantly bolster any business’s telephone identity and verification security whilst simultaneously improving the customer journey. Who wouldn’t want that?


Tom Harwood, co-founder and chief product officer at Aeriandi

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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