Data breaches and the impact on your contact centre. Voice biometrics can help mitigate your risk


Johannesburg, 24 Aug 2020
Read time 4min 40sec

Fraud continues to the be the number one threat to business, and recent data breaches which expose millions of customer records don’t help. This, combined with an enterprise's desire to provide more interaction channels, exacerbates the potential risks as fraudsters target any remote engagement channel that is likely to deliver a ‘profit’.

It is not just the introduction of COVID-19 that has encouraged the proliferation of non-face-to-face interaction modalities, but the realisation that the optimisation of traditional enterprise and customer engagement has had to evolve to provide improved much-needed convenience.

Remote customer engagement channels via contact centres all combine to increase risk and the management of this ‘’risk’’ is becoming more and more critical to manage.

Globally, fraud is considered the number one threat to business, with a fairly substantial percentage of this being initiated through the contact centre.

So, what is the option if you are operating a contact centre and depend on consultants or agents to manage the authentication procedures? There are the traditional knowledge-based questions which, despite having the potential to drive your customers crazy, do have a role to play. However, these processes are short-lived as sophisticated social engineering quickly puts paid to the efficacy. This is where passive voice biometrics and fraud scanner solutions come in.

For those contact centres that speak to their customers with any kind of repetition, passive voice biometrics enables you – as the organisation – to play a viable role in not only protecting your organisation from fraud, but offering your customers peace of mind.

“While there are some organisations in South Africa that are taking this responsibility seriously, most – in truth – are not. Solutions such as passive voice biometrics can play a significant and viable role in mitigating fraud and ensuring you keep your true customers safe,” says Vanda Dickson, Business Development at OneVault.

Passive voice biometrics works on the principle that once a true customer’s voice print has been captured, the technology is able to match this voice print against a claimed caller’s voice and notifies the contact centre agent in real-time of the status.

If you add solutions such as real-time watchlists to passive voice biometrics, an organisation can add yet another layer of protection to mitigate the amount of fraud that happens through a contact centre.

Real-time watchlists are created by the capturing of caller audio where the caller is known or suspected to be a fraudster. The contact centre agent is therefore able to check – in real-time – the audio of the caller against a watchlist when speaking to a caller.

“Most organisations that experience fraud do go through the process with their fraud and risk teams of storing this audio, which invariably forms the basis of a watchlist. If you have passive voice biometrics installed, you are able to interrogate these watchlists in real-time on all calls, and if you don’t, then there are batch solutions that can help with finding the needle in the haystack. If your transactions or interactions do not have immediate risk-based consequences or your turnaround times are days, then having a batch fraud solution can be viable,” says Dickson.

With OneVault’s recent partnership with LumenVox, more commercially attractive technology solutions are available within the South African market offering a much wider array of enterprises the opportunity to implement this solution.

With fraud an ever-increasing cost for an organisation, and technologies such as passive voice biometrics being implemented and relied on extensively in other countries, it is really not about deploying these solutions as a ‘’nice to have’’, but rather as a ‘’have to have’’.

Dickson concludes: “What surprises me is that customers are not demanding that technologies such as passive voice biometrics are used. Not only does it assist with a much better customer experience, but I can also feel safer that someone is not trying to access my profile or my account that is not in fact me.”

OneVault has also recently joined forces with the South African Fraud Prevention Services (SAFPS) and the company will be supporting SAFPS’s initiative to offer their members the opportunity to upload suspected fraud audio and to run it against SAFPS’s current audio list of known fraudster audio. This will be a batch process but will certainly provide organisations with the opportunity to validate suspected audio.

Manie van Schalkwyk, CEO of SAFPS, says: “We have long spoken about the need to set up a Shared Imposter Voicebank (SIV), and I am pleased to say that this idea is finally coming to fruition. It is obviously ideal for organisations that need to manage potential fraud quickly and in real-time to go the route of implementing passive voice biometrics, but this is certainly an option for organisations that want to check audio on an ad hoc basis. We think this is a strong value add to the South African marketplace and will, no doubt, build a strong biometric database of fraudster audio over time.” 

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