How Emerging Technology Fights Fraud in the Call Center
To battle innovative attacks on call centers, enterprises and IT outsourcing service providers are looking to technologies like voice biometrics and behavioral analytics.
Fri, January 11, 2013
CIO — As companies have gotten better at detecting and preventing online fraud in recent years, would-be criminals have redirected their efforts to the corporate call center.
Financial services companies and retailers, for example, are reporting a rise in call center fraud, says Shirley Inscoe, a senior analyst with Aite Group, covering fraud and data security, in large part because "fraudsters tend to take the path of least resistance."
"Criminals are channel-agnostic," says Ori Bach, direction of solution management for call center provider NICE Systems and the call center is currently the weakest link in the enterprise. "It's a remote channel with a large human factor. As fraudster's have gotten less successful online, they've either moved solely to contact center attacks or to cross-channel attacks--starting in the call center and migrating to another channel using a credential they've attained."
Armed with data easily gleaned from social media--an account holder's first pet or the name of his high school mascot--a fraudster can whiz past the typical call center authentication process.
A criminal capable of Caller ID or Automatic Number Identification may not even have to answer a personal question to get the keys to the kingdom. Both Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's debit card and bank account details were stolen and Wired reporter Mat Honan's identity was compromised using call center fraud tactics.
Call center agents, after all, are presumably focused on making the customer happy, which makes them especially gullible to fraud attempts, says Inscoe. The key to fighting the escalating battle against such fraud may not be human intervention but emerging technologies.
"It's a technology arms race," says Bach of NICE Systems. "And today's call center industry needs to have next generation tools."
One such tool is a voice biometrics engine, capable of identifying an individual "voiceprint" based on traits as vocal tract length, mouth size and shape of nasal passage--physical characteristics even the savviest criminal should find difficult to impersonate. "Many banks are intrigued [by voice biometrics] as a possible solution to better authenticate their customers," says Inscoe. "Some focus on all customers while other advocate screening calls against a hot file of voice prints of callers who committed fraud previously."
NICE Systems recently began using voice biometrics incorporating 50 traits on all calls in conjunction with interaction analytics that can alert an agent to fraud patterns in word choice or caller tone.