By Gary Williams, Director of Sales and Consultancy at Spitch, discusses how voice pattern monitoring and biometrics can help banks improve security and overcome financial cybercrime
While many consumers have migrated to digital banking for everyday transactions, there are instances where a person is required to phone their bank or credit card provider to deal with urgent or complex enquiries. Similarly, there may be cause for a bank to call its customers if they identify fraudulent activity on an account.
Unfortunately, the increase in online and telephone banking during the UK-wide lockdown has led to an upsurge in COVID-19 related scams, such as calls purporting to be from HMRC offering “COVID-19 relief funds” or a member of the fraud team from your local bank branch. Fraudsters are taking advantage of people’s fear and anxiety, which often means they make poor decisions and hand over security information to malicious actors and worryingly, a large proportion of scams target vulnerable and older people.
Is it the end of standard security questions?
With such a dynamic and evolving financial crime threat landscape, it is clear that standard banking security is no longer an effective standalone line of defence. Frauds such as phishing scams and other methods mean that criminals can often gain access to this information without the bank or the customer knowing. With traditional security measures such as security questions and even spoken passwords becoming obsolete, retail banks need to adapt their strategies and add an extra layer of security to combat the changing cybercrime outlook.
Talk isn’t cheap in fraud prevention
There are a number of speech monitoring solutions that can help banking organisations keep their customers safe in the face of ever-changing threats:
Voice biometric identification and verification
It is standard practice that a bank must run through a series of security questions to verify the caller is the account holder. However, traditional knowledge-based identification and verification – asking security questions such as the account number, last transaction amount and other details – is not secure enough and can be a lengthy and unenjoyable experience for the customer. So, not only does this not secure customers against modern cyber threats, it can actually cause customer satisfaction issues for the bank. As customers try to access their accounts, they are presented with irritating delays and difficulties in reaching their own banking services and this can be a major contributing factor leading to customers switching banks.
Instead, natural language hybrid voice biometrics solutions can increase customer satisfaction and improve security at the same time. This kind of solution is particularly useful when clients make calls from non-registered telephones and can save an additional 15% of client and agent time during the call.
A by-product of voice biometric identification is the ability to detect fraudulent activity. For scammers,
it can be relatively easy to obtain answers to security questions through careful phishing scams or research. To combat this, contact centre agents can apply voice biometrics to identify legitimate customers automatically through their voiceprints and run the voice sample against a known list of fraudsters in real-time. This allows them to catch scams earlier and mitigate losses for their customers.
Behavioural biometrics technology
Behavioural biometrics technology can identify a wide variety of cyberthreats in real-time. By analysing hundreds of behavioural parameters of online banking users, for example the way users interact with online applications and devices, it can extract powerful insights. One example is flagging if a genuine customer is under pressure to complete a payment where a cybercriminal is directing them to complete the transaction on the telephone. This is similar to the ‘are you a robot’ function present on many websites, which monitors a user’s behaviour to assess the legitimacy of their actions.
Banks and other financial organisations are faced with the challenge of a rapidly evolving threat landscape, but they also have a responsibility to protect their customers. This means that it is imperative that they move with agility as new threats begin to emerge. With the World Health Organisation reporting a five-fold increase in the number of threats they are experiencing; the Coronavirus Pandemic has brought into focus the new reality of cybercrime. It is only through moving away from standard security protocols and embracing innovative technology-led solutions that they will be able to adapt to meet financial security standards in the new normal. In voice and bio-metric technology they have such an innovation that will allow them to cut off numerous avenues of attack that were previously open to criminals who weaponised technology against their customers.