1. What are the key challenges of authenticating callers into the call center and IVR channels?

Traditional contact center anti-fraud and authentication methods no longer stand up to the advanced tactics leveraged by today’s criminals. Most contact centers rely on caller ID, a facility that identifies and displays the telephone numbers of incoming calls made to a particular line, but these telephone numbers can be easily spoofed. Contact centers also rely on knowledge-based authentication (KBA), asking questions that only the legitimate consumer can supposedly answer, to identify a caller. KBA has an average failure rate of 10-15%, and this rate can sometimes go as high as 30%. Most of these failures comes from legitimate customers, not criminals. Meanwhile, over 60% of these criminals can successfully answer these questions because of data they’ve already stolen.

2. What are the most effective methods for securing the phone channel?

“We need to reduce our reliance on static data,” says Avivah Litan, VP Distinguished Analyst at Gartner. All of the data compromises from the last few years have resulted in hoards of data being stolen by criminals and put into databases that are being resold to other criminals. Enabling accurate identity assessment in the contact center relies on endpoint-centric measures, which look at the originating call and the originating phone that is making that call in order to assess the legitimacy of the user that’s calling. Litan describes phoneprinting technology combined with voice biometrics as “the strongest method for detecting fraudsters who call into enterprises.”

3. What are call centers most concerned about and how are their needs satisfied?

Contact center and fraud teams have a mutual interest in protecting customers, their data, and the overall security and reputation of an organization. Call center agents aim to provide high levels of productivity and consistent customer satisfaction. Security teams aim to eliminate weak call center authentication processes and reduce dependence on call center agents for screening out fraudsters. Phoneprinting combined with voice biometrics provides user authentication and fraud detection, enabling both contact center and security teams.

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Pindrop’s patented technology, Phoneprinting™, analyzes 147 different factors in the audio of a phone call in order to create a unique signature that allows contact centers to authenticate callers and detect fraud. To create a phoneprint, Pindrop examines the  call audio and breaks it down by to it’s most subtle characteristics. This allows a fraud analyst to create a unique signature for fraudsters, while also determining the caller’s true geographic location, device type, and more, which provides valuable information that is invisible to most. Unlike a voice or a phone number, this information is impossible to manipulate. Phoneprinting allows Pindrop’s customers to catch over 80% of fraud calls with less than a 1% false positive rate.

For first time callers, Phoneprinting provides real-time risk factor detection and anomaly detection. For repeat callers, Phoneprinting provides unique fraudster identification and fraud analytics tools. Unlike other solutions, Phoneprinting provides universal protection for all incoming calls to the contact center, allowing contact center agents to identify unknown attackers on their very first call while also creating a robust intelligent blacklist of known attackers. Phoneprinting enables contact centers with the technology necessary to stop fraud loss, reduce operations costs, protect brand reputation and compliance, and improve the customer’s overall experience.



Lloyds Banking Group is the first organization in Europe to implement Pindrop’s state-of-the-art technology into its contact centers  to protect its 30 million customers from telephone fraud. Financial Fraud Action (FFA) figures show that consumers lost £755 million to financial fraud across the UK financial services industry in 2015, and Pindrop Labs reports that 1 in 700 calls to UK financial services contact centers is currently fraudulent. Phoneprinting has already helped prevent millions of dollars of fraud at three of the top four banks in the US, and this implementation will strengthen Lloyds Banking Group’s defenses against fraud to further protect customer account information.

Customers will benefit from this protection against new tactics, including caller ID spoofing, voice distortion, and social engineering, that allow fraudsters to disguise their calls and manipulate vulnerable individuals.

pasted-image-at-2016_10_04-11_23-amMartin Dodd, Group Telephony Managing Director of Lloyds Banking Group explains:

“Protecting our customers, their money, and their information is our priority and investing in ground-breaking technology is just one of the many ways we are able to remain a step ahead of potential fraudsters. Our partnership with Pindrop will enable us to further strengthen our multi-layered defenses and allow us to continue to lead the industry in this important area.”

Learn more about Lloyds Banking Group’s commitment to fraud prevention.

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The wealth of information housed by contact centers can be leveraged by fraudsters for data mining and cross-channel attacks. In an effort to prevent phone fraud, many businesses implement authentication methods; however, most fail to administer the authentication required to provide a layered defense system. As social engineering and fraud technologies have become more advanced, standard authentication methods have proven to become less sufficient. “You have to assume the criminals can get through one layer [of authentication]; they can get through two, they can even get through three,” says Avivah Litan, Vice President with the consultancy Gartner. “But if you have multiple layers, up to five, and you’re continuously authenticating that user and continuously looking at their activities against their profile, you should be in pretty good shape.”

Multiple layers of security allow organizations to meet regulatory requirements and effectively safeguard customer data. Knowledge-based authentication (KBA), has served as a standard authentication method for years; however, 10-15% of KBA fails entirely, proving that authentication requires another layer of security in order to ensure data protection. A layered approach to authentication starts with “protecting the endpoint, trying to secure the browser, going all the way up to looking at the navigation, building profiles of users and accounts and looking for anomalies, doing that across channels,” says Litan. This kind of identity assessment analyzes endpoint and user data, metadata, and ehavior as it identifies linkages across and between entities.


No singular authentication method used on its own is sufficient enough to keep determined fraudsters out. Creating a layered defense system makes it more difficult for an illegitimate caller to access desired information, such as a physical location, computing device, network, or database. If one barrier is broken or compromised, the fraudster still has at least one more barrier to breach before successfully accessing the desired information. This system ensures that each layer defends the previous layer, making it more difficult for a fraudster to circumvent the security of the entire system.

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Fraud poses a substantial risk to the integrity of federal programs and weakens the public’s trust in government. Though government agencies have made great strides in online security over the past few years, they have neglected to implement similar protections for the phone channel.

Fraudsters commonly use the call center as a first step in launching a fraud attack. By impersonating a citizen over the phone, fraudsters are able to gather private financial or personal information. Agencies that hold significant amounts of personal data, like the IRS and Social Security Administration, are particularly at risk.

Today, too many government agencies are relying on outdated Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) questions as their primary form of security over the phone channel. These questions are ineffective at stopping fraudsters, as recent data breaches have flooded the black market with the answers to these questions. Even when the fraudsters don’t already know the answers, they can use social engineering techniques to bypass security measures.

So what can government agency call centers do to more effectively solve this problem? Pindrop solutions are designed to analyze all aspects of the call to assess the true identity of the caller and detect indicators of fraud. Built around patented Phoneprinting technology, Pindrop analyzes 147 features of the call audio to determine the caller’s true location, device, and risk. Pindrop combines Phoneprinting with reputation analysis, voice biometric blacklisting, and a private enterprise consortium, which allows sharing of threat intelligence across industries.

Government agencies are using Pindrop to avoid data breaches and protect citizen information in the call center, as well as for forensic investigation and analytics. To learn more about how Pindrop is helping government agencies, check out a recent interview with our VP of Public Sector, Eric Forseter in Meritalk.

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Aite InfographicAite Group, an independent research and advisory firm focused on business, technology, and regulatory issues, interviewed 25 executives at 18 of the top 40 largest U.S. financial institutions based on asset size in order to provide an accurate evaluation of the most effective technology solutions to protect against fraud. On Tuesday, Aite’s Senior Analyst, Shirley Inscoe, joined Pindrop’s Director of Research, Dr. David Dewey, for an online discussion of the growing threat of fraud in the contact center.

Top 10 Takeaways

  1. As EMV continues to gain momentum in the US, organized fraud rings will move to the phone channel, replacing traditional counterfeit card fraud.
  2. The contact center is the cross-channel fraud enabler. Current authentication factors in the contact center often fail due to various data fraudsters can acquire through social engineering tactics.
  3. The majority of financial institutions (72%) expect contact center fraud loss to continue in an upward trajectory.
  4. The root source of fraud, the contact center, is often misdiagnosed due to fraud enablement in other channels, such as debit card, credit card, and check order takeover – online fraud that exists from reset credentials being reset by the contact center agent.
  5. Fraud will move downstream toward smaller institutions and credit unions as phone fraud solutions are integrated into larger firms.
  6. Organized fraud rings are using automated attacks, specifically robotic fraudsters, targeting interactive voice recordings (IVRs), to keep their cost down while still managing to dramatically increase market coverage.
  7. In the U.S., Contact center fraud is expected to double to a $775 million problem by 2020.
  8. 61% of account takeover losses trace back to the contact center.
  9. For every 1-second authentication is reduced, an organization can save $1 million annually.
  10. Of the 23 different technology solutions reviewed by leading executives, Pindrop’s phoneprinting and voiceprinting technologies hold the highest combined ranking on industry awareness of the product, overall product ranking, and likelihood of recommending to colleagues.

75% of Tuesday’s webinar attendees confirmed having seen a recent rise in fraud. Contact centers will continue to enable cross-channel fraud until technology solutions are implemented to thwart it. Ensuring optimal protection against fraud in the contact center requires multiple layers of security that provide high coverage, high accuracy, high speed, and low friction without being easily fooled by fraud techniques, such as spoofing, voice distortion, and social engineering. Pindrop’s technology provides multi-factor authentication through layered intelligence scores, reason codes, and risk factors.

Thank you for listening!

Catch the on-demand session.

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Aite InfographicContact center fraud attacks have increased substantially in recent years due to the EMV transition and data breaches. Despite the intent to administer positive and timely customer experiences, contact centers often fall victim to social engineering methods that enable fraud attacks.

Fraud attacks increase operational costs, decrease customer satisfaction, and jeopardize brand reputation as customer data is repeatedly lost to fraud. Aite Group, an independent research and advisory firm focused on business, technology, and regulatory issues, interviewed 25 executives at 18 of the top 40 largest U.S. financial institutions in order to examine the current condition of the market and determine the most effective technology solutions for solving cross-channel fraud.

Current State & Fraud Loss Prevention Highlights

  • Contact center fraud loss is expected to double by 2020.
  • 61% of fraud can be traced back to the contact center, but it doesn’t end there. Fraud is a cross-channel problem. 
  • Contact center security vulnerability severely burdens a business. 
  • The right technology solution provides security without minimizing customer satisfaction. 

According to Aite, guaranteeing optimal protection against fraud in the contact center requires multiple layers of security. Since contact centers have been under attack more than ever before, several types of security solutions have been created to solve the problem. Of the 23 different technology solutions reviewed by leading executives, Pindrop’s phoneprinting and voiceprinting technologies hold the highest combined ranking on industry awareness of the product, overall product ranking, and likelihood for referral.

Learn More

Join Aite’s Senior Analyst, Shirley Inscoe, and Pindrop’s Director of Research, Dr. David Dewey, for an online discussion on the growing threat of fraud in the contact center and the best practices for detection and prevention.

Contact Centers: The Fraud Enablement Channel
September 13, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Register Now


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Congratulations are in order if you’ve never had to experience the pleasure of being robocalled. The rampant growth of the underground phone fraud world is affecting consumers and enterprises alike. As consumers, we may experience calls telling us we are being sued by the IRS (just one of the many scams) and for enterprises, the call centers are a point of entry for costly phone phishing attacks. This shockingly small group of fraudsters are causing explosive amounts of damage, costing Americans about $7.4 billion annually, as noted by the Harris poll.

We can try to register for the Do Not Call lists and be more aware of the unfamiliar numbers calling us, but cyber criminals can easily access our data through social engineering, spoofing and inexpensive data downloads. Enterprises face a bigger challenge. Some have fraud ops teams to help deter or mitigate the risks. However, more and more fraudsters are targeting unprotected call centers. The advancement and rollout of EMV cards are partially to blame, coupled with the amount of consumer data that is readily available.

Our data scientist, Aude Marzuoli, presented at this year’s Black Hat conference on phone fraud scams and the phoneprinting technology to prevent such attacks. Marzouli and the research team reviewed millions of calls, while leveraging the Pindrop honeypot and online comments in combination with machine learning and were able to determine that of the 100,000 call recordings, 51% of the robocalls recorded were placed by 38 distinct telephony infrastructures which could be uniquely identified with more than 85% true detection rate (TDR) on average. So what does this all really mean? Fraudsters are getting more creative, more quickly, and within a small network have an exceptional, growing presence that makes protection from this abuse more challenging.

To learn more about the findings, check out the full Call Me: Gathering Threat Intelligence on Telephony Scams to Detect Fraud presentation.

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TWIPF2 This week in phone fraud, Pindrop Labs released its Top 10 Consumer Phone Scams Report and Pindrop CEO, Vijay Balasubramaniyan, reveals how deep learning can transform the relationship between humans and machines.

On Thursday, USA Today reported the top three phone scams targeting consumers this year are Google listing scams, loan-related scams and fraudsters offering free vacations, an information security company called Pindrop found — by masquerading as unsuspecting customers.

Wednesday, IT Pro Portal reported that ever since humans evolved language, speech has proven to be the most efficient way for us to communicate, from the simplest requests to the most complex ideas. Now, with advances in technology, speech is poised to become the next major transformation of the user interface.


Biometric Update: Biometrics alone will not win the authentication wars – Hackers target banks and any business with a digital presence to steal people’s identities and export valuable private information. Increasingly, hackers are using impersonation methods to pose as individuals to commit fraud digitally and over the phone. Especially in the call center, where fraud is expected to grow by 97 percent between 2015-20 (Aite Group)

Helpnet Security: As voice interaction increases, what will security look like in the next 5 years? – As the accuracy of voice UI grows, it will naturally progress to a means of authentication in the enterprise. However, the enterprise should be concerned about the security implications of tomorrow and what managing voice authentication, in the daily work environment, will mean.

On the Wire: Google Listing, Political Scams, Top Phone Fraud Threats – Nearly 20 percent of all phone fraud calls hitting consumers and businesses this year are part of the fake Google listing scam, more than twice as many as the eight percent that are loan scam calls, according to new data released by Pindrop Labs.

New York Post: Why you may fall for these wild scam phone calls – About 896,000 scam calls have been reported to the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s office since October 2013, with some 5,000 victims paying more than $29.5 million to robbers, the agency’s head reported earlier this year.

National Daily Press: FCC is putting pressure on phone companies to give customers technology to block robocalls – The FCC is putting new pressure on both wireless carriers and traditional phone companies to give customers technology to block unwanted robocalls. Chairman Tom Wheeler has told the carriers that they need to give their customers the option to block robocalls, which have become the largest source of complaints that the commission receives.

Straits Times: Banks “unlikely” to pay phone scam victims – Last Monday, OCBC Bank reported a sharp rise in scams involving conmen impersonating its employees; around 30 customers are believed to have been duped, losing tens of thousands of dollars. However, lawyers say victims would be liable for the money they lost due to the voluntary nature of the transactions.

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blackhat2016Fraudsters live and die today by executing on what some may call — prank calls. Only the punchline hits businesses in their pockets, leaving law enforcement and companies to ask, “How do we know stop them?” They are robocalls, voice phishers and caller ID spoofers using cybercrime techniques to launch scam campaigns through the telephony channel that many people have long trusted.

Black Hat, one of the premier, highly technical security conferences of the year, welcomes Pindrop Labs Research Scientist Aude Marzuoli to host a session at Black Hat USA 2016.

I am excited for Marzuoli to discuss her latest research findings on the most menacing trends of the telephony channel and describe the calling patterns she tracked via a telephony honeypot. She will share with you her original thesis and how she used Pindrop’s honeypot to gather and analyze accurate and timely information on unwanted phone calls across the United States. By determining how these bad call sources can be quickly and accurately identified using features extracted from honeypot call audio, Pindrop Labs stands to aid law enforcement and businesses across the globe that are combatting rising telephony fraud.

Using machine learning and semantic information collected from honeypot call audio, Marzuoli and her team collected over 500,000 calls over five months from 90,000+ unique source phone numbers. Leveraging this data, Pindrop Labs developed a method to “fingerprint” high-risk call sources, attempting to hide behind phone numbers, and detect them in the first few seconds of a call.

In total, Marzuoli’s research included 1,072,840 calls placed to a honeypot by 209,755 sources and to 57,818 destinations. Out of these calls, she sampled over 100,000 for recording and analysis. The eye opening results were shared with Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commision. We look forward sharing to these results and what can be done to protect consumers and stop robocall scams.

I will be in the audience as she takes the stage and we will both be available after the session. I hope you will join us at Black Hat on August 4, 2016 at 5 pm PST in the South Seas CDF room. More details on her session are available here.

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TWIPF2 This week in phone fraud, a researcher found a way to trick the ID verification tools used by tech giants Microsoft, Google, and Instagram, and a phone scam in China targets HIV infected people.

On Thursday, Fortune reported that a researcher found a simple yet ingenious way to trick three companies— Microsoft, Google, and Facebook’s Instagram—into forking over money using nothing more than the telephone.

Thursday, New York Times reported that hundreds of people with H.I.V. across China are being called by someone who claiming to be from the government who has access to their medical records and other personal information.


NPR: Scammers Turn To Caller ID “Spoofing” To Pose as Police – Most people know to hang up on con artists supposedly calling from the power company or the IRS, demanding money. The problem is, there’s little the police can do — even when the scammers go so far as to impersonate the police themselves.

Shanghai Daily: Police in China to probe suspected phone scam targeting people with HIV – People with HIV nationwide have reportedly received phone calls from individuals claiming to work for the government. The callers allegedly attempt to collect service fees for “government subsidies for the HIV-infected.”

IT Pro Portal: Modernise your authentication methods of suffer the consequences – The way digital enterprises connect with their customers is changing. Consumers are demanding more trusted and personalised experiences in exchange for their personally identifiable information (PII), while businesses are struggling to protect user privacy in light of growing global security and privacy concerns.

Huffington Post Canada: Canada Revenue Agency Scam hits 17 in Saskatchewan, RCMP say – Seventeen individuals in Saskatchewan have been a victim to the Canada Revenue Agency fraud with nearly $70,000 in reported losses since the beginning of 2016. Fraudsters threaten arrest, legal action, seizure of homes, vehicles and other assets if payment isn’t made.

Komando: New way fraudsters are spoofing victims – Robocalls are automated phone calls with prerecorded messages usually used for political campaigns and marketing purposes. But due to the proliferation of cheap phone software and technology, scammers are getting their hands down and dirty with this fast and easy method of conning people out of their cash

Bucks Free Press: Scam Alert: Fraudsters impersonate phone companies to and trick people into sharing details – Fraudsters are impersonating phone companies in a bid to trick people into handing over their personal details. They attempt to glean personal and financial details which will then be used to contact genuine phone companies and order new mobile phones. They will then either intercept the delivery before it reaches the victim’s address or order the handset to a different address.

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