Thought Leadership

Phone Fraud Attacks on Call Centers Continue to Grow

Phone fraud attempts against call centers continue to rise, and companies are responding with sophisticated tools to help identify suspicious calls.

A typical phone fraud scenario involves a criminal who contacts a company’s call center, pretending to be a customer requesting information or access to an account. They may use the personal information of the customer that they’ve found online or acquired illegally, or they may “socially engineer” the call center by spinning a hard-luck tale to convince the customer service agent to share secure account information.

IDology’s 2015 Fraud Report found that the number of organizations reporting suspected call center fraud attempts rose to 13 percent from 2 percent in 2014. IDology is among a number of companies offering identity verification and fraud prevention solution for companies that conduct business in “consumer-not-present” environments.

These kinds of software security solutions are typically designed to work in real-time, and “behind the scenes” as customer service reps engage with callers. For example, Pindrop Security offers a platform called “Phoneprinting,” which analyzes phone calls coming into the call center. The technology can uncover a number of characteristics, such as the geographical region that it originates from, whether it is coming from a landline or VoIP, and the type of device being used. With this and other types of measurable information, the software can raise a red flag to alert the call center that the call may be suspicious.

Pindrop’s research, published in its annual Phone Fraud Report, has found that financial and retail companies have experienced an increase in phone fraud of more than 30 percent since 2013, exposing large financial institutions to more than $9 million in potential fraud annually.

“These attackers are sophisticated, using a variety of tactics, including automation, working in criminal rings, and using both the phone and cyber channel to make tracking their actions more difficult,” said Matt Garland, vice president of research and head of Pindrop Security’s Pindrop Labs team. “As major data breaches such as Anthem and Target have occurred, attackers have found the phone channel to be the vulnerable underbelly for corporations and consumers, allowing them to monetize the breaches through social engineering and account takeovers.”

Other key findings from Pindrop’s Phone Fraud Report include:

To download the IDology 2015 Fraud Report, visit:

To learn more about phone fraud, visit the Pindrop Security blog at:

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