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Written by: Christine DeFazio

Fraudsters are targeting call centers at an unprecedented clip, with one in every 937 calls being fraudulent, according to new data published today in the Pindrop 2017 Call Center Fraud Report.
The data, compiled from Pindrop® Labs enterprise customers around the world, shows that the rate of fraudulent calls hitting call centers is continuing to increase as criminals move from in-person fraud to the phone channel in search of new revenue opportunities. In 2015, one in every 2,000 calls was fraudulent, and that number increased 113% in 2016 to one in 937. For financial institutions, insurance companies, and other enterprises that rely on call centers for their main interactions with customers, this is a troubling trend that shows no signs of slowing down.
Pindrop® Labs researchers gather and analyze data from a diverse set of customers across several industries each year to identify fraud trends. This year’s report comprises data from banks, card issuers, insurance companies, government agencies, and other organizations.
The sharp rise in the number of fraudulent calls is the result of the confluence of several developments, most notably the increased difficulty of conducting online fraud and the continued improvement of fraudsters’ tactics. Companies that are the most frequent targets of fraud, such as banks and credit card companies, have put a lot of time and money into defending against online fraud in the last few years. That strategy largely has been successful and it pushed criminals into the riskier world of in-person fraud.
But card issuers have stepped up their game as well, rolling out chip-and-PIN cards that prevent fraudsters from printing their own cards and makes using stolen ones much more difficult. The result is that more and more fraud is moving to the phone channel, which has less-developed defenses in most cases and offers criminals the safety of distance and anonymity in their operations.
This move has paid off for fraudsters. In 2016, fraud losses were $0.58 per call. Those losses can add up quite quickly for victim organizations, especially those that receive tens of millions of calls each year. Technology also is helping these fraudsters, who largely use VoIP lines (45% of fraud calls) and mobile phones (43% of fraud calls) to make their calls. Tracing those calls can be more difficult and they also offer tools such as voice modifiers and caller ID spoofing, which complicates the identification process further.
Phone fraud has become a global problem with many different components and challenges. Addressing the problem requires a combination of technology and human intelligence and right now the fraudsters are winning the battle.
You can download the 2017 Call Center Fraud Report here.