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PINDROP BLOG

Call Center Fraudsters | Voice Morphing, Social Engineering, and the Need for Authentication

As technology advances, fraudsters use different, constantly evolving techniques that include exploiting the phone channel. With increasingly sophisticated attacks, fraudsters maneuver around authentication and security measures to access sensitive information that helps them take over accounts.

This evolving criminal strategy is part of a $14 billion call center problem. From January 2016 to August 2017, call centers have experienced a 160% increase in global fraud call rate – a rise from 1 fraudulent call for every 937 calls compared to 1 in 769 calls. Additionally, Pindrop® Labs analyzed millions of calls and collected data from the top eight U.S. banks, top five U.S. insurers, and additional enterprise call centers to find recurring techniques used by fraudsters.

Data dealing, spoofing, and voice morphing are only a few methods fraudsters use to access accounts. Additionally, social engineering is often added into a fraudster’s mix of techniques as a tactic to help them get around call center agent procedures.

For example, a fraudster duo known as Mr. and Mrs. Smith is actually one fraudster acting as two. Armed with voice morphing technology, this fraudster may call into a call center to add an “authorized” user (such as a spouse) to an account. If “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is clever enough, a call center agent may add an “authorized” user without first properly authenticating.

According to Pindrop® Labs, this fraudster attempts to evade voice biometrics by using voice morphing in an attempt to sound like their victim. However, Pindrop identified the fraudster with a known phoneprint and generated voiceprints for both the male and female voices.

In addition to voice morphing, Mr. and Mrs. Smith utilized social engineering – one of the simplest yet most effective fraudster tactics. Fraudsters know your employees want to deliver a positive customer experience, and they will relentlessly exploit that desire through psychological manipulation. The fraudster will socially engineer a situation to connect empathetically with the call center agent – such as acting like a parent in a hurry – to maneuver around standard authentication or voice biometric standards.

Because each fraudster uses different combinations of techniques, a “one-size-fits-all” authentication solution approach will not detect all fraudsters. Call centers need a multifactor authentication solution that focuses on enhancing customer experience while deterring fraudsters.

To take a deeper dive into the minds of fraudsters like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, read our eBook Part One: Call Center Fraudsters Unmasked. To find out how Pindrop helped identify and deter these fraudsters, be sure to check out Part Two: Call Center Fraudsters Defeated.

Introducing Pindrop® Express – Authenticate without compromise.