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Five Ways to Protect Your Contact Center from Fraud

August 29th, 2017

Contact center fraud is a costly business, resulting in around $10 billion stolen every year. It has become the fastest growing form of electronic crime. In 2017 alone, global fraud rates have increased 113% from 2016, occurring 1 in every 937 calls! Just as alarming – nearly half of these calls are coming from VoIP lines, and 43% originate from mobile devices (an increase of 25% over the last year).

Changes in the business landscape have influenced this trend: The pervasiveness of social media makes it easier for criminals to hack knowledge-based security questions; and the advancement of chip technology has made the online channel more secure, leaving the contact center as the more vulnerable channel. The contact center is also an attractive target because of the sheer volume of calls; and oftentimes, the only barrier between the criminals and the customer accounts is an inexperienced agent.

Fortifying your contact center against intruders is not only economical, it’s the right thing to do on behalf of your customers. You can invest in the resources you already possess – your agents and your customer data – to create a more secure service environment. Here are some options to consider:

Phone Printing

Fraudsters often try to penetrate customer accounts via the IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition) system where account changes can often be made without speaking to an actual agent. Some forward-thinking contact centers identify the caller’s location, IP addresses or other identifying information to authenticate callers in the IVR, but ubiquitous applications – e.g., Skype and IP anonymizers – can disguise the caller’s identity and location, making the data as unreliable as caller ID for authentication.

Phone printing can go a long way in reinforcing IVR security. It collects and analyzes all available information about the phone call to legitimize it. This can include location, phone type, carrier, amount of background noise, and dozens of other types of authenticating information. If a caller is flagged as fraudulent, the contact center can store the caller’s unique “phone print” so they can cross-reference it with future calls for that account. If the caller was a member of a phishing ring, the phone print can help identify the caller’s accomplices.

Omni-channel Reporting

In today's world, contact centers can leverage big data to combat fraud. With thousands of customer engagements occurring each day across multiple channels, omni-channel reporting can uncover patterns in the contact center to indicate this activity. Fraudulent activity on an account may not raise alarm when the sham call is evaluated on its own. However, when analyzed in the context of the entire customer journey, minor or seemingly insignificant anomalies occurring across channels make the compromise much more apparent. Omni-channel “transfer analysis” and “channel hopping” reports can begin to highlight these patterns.

Real-time Thresholds and Alerts

Often, agents may not be aware when a fraud attempt is occurring on their line and those that are aware often panic, unsure of how to manage the caller. It's moments like this that agents want to bring in a supervisor to assist with the call. Past technologies made that transfer process clumsy and all too apparent to the fraudster that their plans had been foiled. (Time to hang up the phone!) To manage fraud as it happens, contact centers must expand the capabilities of supervisors to assist agents in real-time, and potentially without the caller being given any notification of the request for assistance.

Real-time reporting can identify channel- or event-specific behaviors that indicate fraud, such as velocity counts for online login attempts or transactions. Contact centers can use this information to implement custom thresholds through their real-time reporting and send supervisors a live alert whenever an interaction exceeds the threshold. If the contact center utilizes real-time coaching solutions, supervisors can step in and handle the call or coach the agent through the rest of the interaction. This places the responsibility of identifying fraud on the real-time technology of the contact center, effectively circumventing green agents who are more error-prone because they may not know the signs of a fraudulent caller.

Better Agent Training

Contact centers train their agents to handle large call volumes efficiently while providing quality customer service. Their priority is not fraud prevention so they typically don’t receive adequate training in how to identify and handle fraudulent calls. This makes every agent a target because he is the path of least resistance for a security breach. Regular training and implementing the latest fraud tactics can turn your agents into a valuable extension of your fraud protection strategy. For starters, contact centers should eliminate traditional knowledge verification questions from their agents’ repertoire. A user's birthday, zip code or mother's maiden name should be replaced by account-specific questions that would not be easily available outside of the organization. Supervisors should also identify agents who are most adept at identifying fraud and group them into a task force that will handle the highest-risk call types.

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 75% of omnichannel, customer-facing companies will face a targeted attack, with the contact center as the primary point of compromise. They also suggest that only 30% of contact centers will have the appropriate fraud detection and prevention measures in place by then. While fraud may be on the rise, new technologies are emerging to fight it. Businesses must ask themselves -- is my contact center prepared?


For more information about contact center solutions, reach out to the experts at Aceyus and together we will help make the future safer for you and your customers.

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