Pindrop releases 2017 report on fraudulent calls to customer service centers

The rauds are not only calling us directly, they are calling our banks and credit card companies trying to get more information in order to steal our money and benefits.  A new report provides some startling insights into how widespread this fraud is and how successful it can be.

There are call centers who handle customer service calls for banks, credit card companies, major retailers, and a variety of other entities.  We can call one and change our address or password, pay bills, and even withdraw money.  The report says that call centers are the “weakest links in online security.  61% of fraud losses from account takeovers involve the call center.”  Pindrop estimates that losses from calls to call centers were $14 Billion last year.

How does the call center know it is really talking to the right person?  Obviously they require a variety of personal information to authenticate that we are who we say we are.  But as a result of data breaches and underground traffic in personal information enterprising crooks may be able to convince the call center that it is dealing with its real customer.  For example, a caller pretending to be you may claim they have lost their credit card and ask that a replacement be sent to a new address controlled by the fraud.  And of course if they get access to your bank account they can just steal the money.

Organized crime has people around the world that can spend their days on the phone with call centers.  The frauds can spoof caller ID’s, use cheap mobile phones, Skype, or Google Voice to place the call, and use voice distortion software – all to hide their actual location.  Pindrop’s technology allows it to determine the actual location of the caller and thus whether the caller is a real customer.

Pindrop reports that fraud on call centers increased 113% between 2015 and 2016, and that fraudulent calls doubled in volume during that time, from one in every 2000 calls to one in every 937.  For US call centers 83% of such calls are coming from outside the United States.

Credit card issuers are one of the most frequent targets of this fraud, with 1 out of every 800 calls received coming from a fraud.   Banks have fraudulent calls coming at the rate of 1 in every 867 calls.  Insurance companies are also frequent targets, as are retailers.  Frauds often try to obtain access to loyalty cards or points (think frequent flyers or hotel points) that can be turned into money.

The highest fraud rate for a single industry was for device insurance, the policies people have for lost or stolen phones.  Fraudulent calls were 1 of every 194 last year, a 55% increase.

 

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