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By Mark Lazar, Verint Enterprise Intelligence Solutions

Gone are the identity-changing, cheque-forging, days of Catch Me if You Can’s Frank Abagnale. Today, professional fraudsters are slyer, and are known for targeting contact centres. To address these systematic attacks, some organisations are responding with a new generation of voice biometrics technology that can silently detect known fraudster voices during incoming calls. The goal of these new systems is to increase fraud protection without disturbing the customer experience.

Traditional security questions don’t always prevent these fraudsters, who are skilled in social engineering and armed with stolen identity data. As a result, it’s important to consider guarding all channels and points of communication within your organisation. However, industry analysts identify the contact centre as a starting place and also a security weak link exploited by fraudsters in the face of tightened online security.

One of Frank’s lasting legacies was his incredible sweet-talking ability. The modern day fraudster is skilled at socially engineering agents who have dual roles—customer service and security. They learn enough to pressure agents into security breaches by repeatedly and systematically calling. In fact, one study found that a significant percentage of total fraud calls are “repeat attacks” carried out by a small set of professional fraudsters. Today’s fraudsters also buy stolen identities and leverage social networks to answer many security and out-of-wallet questions.

Unfortunately, there are not enough FBI agents like Carl Hanratty to go round every bank, recognising the voice of individual ‘sweet-talking’ fraudsters. Instead, forward-thinking contact centres at banks and card issuers are turning to voice biometric solutions, with technology that profiles and recognises a human voice’s unique vocal characteristics, or “voiceprint.” The voice biometric system stores the voiceprints of known fraudsters in a database and screens incoming calls, proactively notifying the live agent and/or fraud management system upon detection. The key to this new generation of voice biometrics is its “passive” operation. Calls are silently screened, and no additional questions are asked in order to match voiceprints. Agents proceed normally until they are alerted to any fraudster detection by the system.

This means that banks, card issuers, and providers of wealth management services can authenticate customers during interactions on the phone—without negatively impacting the overall customer experience. The following benefits not only help a financial institution reduce fraud, but also gain visibility into patterns of fraudulent interactions and authenticate legitimate customers quickly.

  1. Stronger fraud protection: Voice biometrics can significantly reduce fraud losses and the number of fraud attacks using voiceprint screening that detects “repeat” calls by known voices, and repeat calls constitute the majority of fraud attacks on the contact centre. Organisations can help subvert many of these attacks with today’s advanced biometrics, reducing loss and deterring fraudsters who may then move on to other targets.
  2. Increased visibility into fraud: Voice biometric solutions have the capability to track an individual fraudster’s voice even as he/she calls across multiple accounts and time periods. As a result, it can become a rich database and source of information regarding fraudster activities and behaviours. With this intelligence, the contact centre can gain important visibility into fraud patterns and details that weren’t available previously via a single source. These insights can be used to further improve security and efficiency.
  3. Reduced vulnerability to social engineering: Although fraudsters can trick or coerce agents, or flirt outrageously with attractive bank clerks like Frank, their smooth talk doesn’t fool a voice biometrics engine. By alerting an agent during a call or via the fraud management system even after an agent has been successfully bypassed, advanced voice biometrics solutions can reduce the contact centre’s vulnerability to the social engineering of agents.

Today’s Frank Abagnale’s have a much tougher job, as a gentle hair-flick or flashing smile just won’t cut it anymore. Modern voice biometrics technology provides significant advances compared to historical approaches, improving the safety of customer details and possessions, as well as their overall satisfaction. Voice biometrics has truly outwitted even the most advanced fraudster.

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