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Written by: Mike Yang

How a Polite Welsh Lady is Racking up Phone Fraud Losses for Businesses
Of the many channels targeted by fraudsters, the call centre is perhaps the most popular. In fact, 61% of fraud losses from account takeovers involve it, according to research by Aite Group.

The reason is obvious. More often than not, phone defences amount to just one thing: the call centre agent. These employees are very rarely trained in fraud detection, making them susceptible to a number of techniques fraudsters use to gain access to accounts.

With a majority of other channels protected from fraud, many businesses do not have allocated budget towards phone protection or call centre training. This leaves them extremely vulnerable to phone fraud losses.

To understand the extent of the threat, Pindrop® Labs reviewed more than half a billion calls for fraudulent activity. We discovered that there are a number of different prolific fraudsters, each with a specific and identifiable modus operandi.

By understanding one type of attacker, you can identify the methods that many others use to target businesses and extract millions of pounds from them…

Introducing the Polite Welsh Lady
This woman with a slight Welsh accent is one of the most effective fraudsters our research has come across. She is extremely friendly, well-spoken, and able to put most call centre agents at ease.

The Polite Welsh Lady’s social engineering skills are not to be underestimated. Even when she does not have the correct information, she’s able to extract it from the agent by successfully controlling the conversation.

Using these tactics, she has successfully transferred several thousand pounds from a large number of accounts.

Plugging the Fraud Gap
The financial impact of phone fraudsters like the Polite Welsh Lady is huge. In the last year, data collected at Pindrop® Labs has shown a significant increase in the cost of fraud to businesses. In the UK alone £0.86 per call is lost to phone fraud – a 68% increase from £0.51 in 2015.

With such extraordinary sums at stake, businesses need to secure their call centres. However, extensively training call centre agents on fraud would increase operational expenditure to the point of it becoming prohibitive.

New methods are needed. Organisations need to invest in solutions that make fraud detection simple, smart and quick. Technology can automate much of the process, making sure that budgets stretch as far as possible in protecting the phone lines from malicious attackers.

The first step is truly understanding the many different types of fraudsters and their tactics of gaining access to customer accounts. Armed with extensive knowledge of the threat, you can then define your defensive methods.

Find out about other types of fraudsters targeting businesses in our free 2017 UK Call Centre Fraud Report.