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Pindrop Labs finds 113% rise in fraudulent calls at call centers in past year


Pindrop released its seventh annual Call Center Fraud Report, which found a 113 percent increase in the fraud rate in 2016, year-over-year.

The report found that fraud rates in 2016 were 1 in 937 calls compared to 1 in 2,000 calls in 2015.

Pindrop’s researchers analyzed more than half a billion calls protected by the company’s Phoneprinting technology to identify three key weaknesses in the call center that have contributed to the rise in fraudulent activity.

One of the most prominent drivers behind the increase in fraud in the call center is that the attackers have been to improve their social engineering techniques that help them bypass security defenses.

In addition, new spoofing and voice distortion technologies are providing fraudsters with more options for attacking via the phone.

“The sophistication of the fraudsters, the expansion of criminal rings, heightened security in other channels, and the amount of information available on the dark web is making the call center the easiest fraud target in virtually every industry,” said Vijay Balasubramaniyan, CEO and co-founder of Pindrop. “We see these attacks first hand and we are able to help some of the biggest banks, insurance providers, and retail companies reduce fraud exposure and provide a better authentication experience for their valued customers.”

The report highlights three key weaknesses found in many call centers, which can be categorized as being technical, human or organizational.

Technical weaknesses involve fraudsters spoofing caller ID and use applications such as Skype or Google Voice to conceal their identity and location.

Fraudsters also exploit IVR (interactive voice recognition) systems to try to reset victims’ PINs, test account numbers, or find uncover more information on a target.

Human weaknesses involve call center service representatives, which are at a high risk of falling victim to a fraudster’s attacks.

Organizational weaknesses involve fraudsters exploiting the data they’ve collected on a target account to pass knowledge-based authentication tests and social engineering the call center agent into providing them with access to the account knowing an agent’s primary goal is to expedite the call to a resolution.

The report also provides insights about the depth and breadth of fraud activity across a range of industries, with the acceleration of fraud activity reaching its peak in 2016 in recent years.

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