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The Importance of Call Center Authentication

call center authentication

Part 2 in our series on Insights from the Vision 2016 fraud and identity track

With the growing number of data breach incidents taking place the stolen data from those attacks is being used to carry out social engineering attacks used to commit call center fraud. A recent study stated that global call center fraud has increased more than 45% in the last three years as fraudsters use social engineering to steal data and turn profits. The same report found that criminals might make up to 5 calls to a center, pretending to be the victim, before completing a fraudulent transaction. The importance of  strong call center authentication procedures is greater than ever.

At the 35th annual Vision Conference, Bobbie Paul from Experian’s Global Consulting Practice, Stefan Schubert from JPMorgan Chase and I led a session about call center authentication. After introductions and a discussion about existing call center identity authentication techniques, Stefan took the podium and provided an excellent overview of how his company approaches call center authentication. He made an interesting point — despite introducing friction into his process, he was not of the opinion that knowledge-based authentication (KBA) was going away any time soon because of how deeply it is embedded into their processes and its applicability to most consumers. He also called out the importance of reviewing KBA configurations regularly to adjust which questions are being asked and the positive implication to deterring fraudsters.

Bobbie followed Stefan to discuss emerging call center authentication technologies, including a new take on an old tool — document imaging. She also discussed the notion of phone printing, which does not specifically evaluate the voice on the phone, but looks at the characteristics of the call itself, including the type of phone being used and the environment from which the call is being made.

One of the highlights of the session was the interaction with the audience — including a demonstration of how, with a little distraction, it was easy to walk away with an audience member’s phone, how a fraudster could access and compromise a phone and how a gummy bear could be used to defeat fingerprint biometrics.

What I, and many others, took away from this is that even with newer fraud detection tools available, incorporating tried-and-true methods like KBA is still an important step into a holistic fraud detection strategy.