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8 tips to keep your organisation safe from contact centre fraud

18 December 2020

Contact centres provide an important link between businesses and their customers. Organisations must strive to create a balance between a great customer experience and protecting customer data. According to Aite Group, more than 60% of all fraud involves the contact centre at some stage. This poses a challenge for frontline staff receiving calls and the senior management team implementing technology and processes to prevent fraud from happening.

To help tackle this challenge Smartnumbers have brought together some of the industry’s leading experts, brands and governing bodies, including Cifas, UK Finance, Nuance, TUFF and Callsign, to share their advice on eradicating fraud from their eBook: ‘Preventing fraud in the contact centre’.

1. Use telephony data to complete the picture of your fraud defences

One of the most common challenges in fraud prevention and customer authentication in the contact centre environment is access to real-time validation of the caller’s true identity. This has made it difficult to build effective fraud defences for the telephony channel and created cumbersome customer authentication processes. Having real-time access to telephony data-based risk assessment closes the gap between customer authentication and fraud prevention in the contact centre.

2. Create trust pathways to help streamline customer authentication

In a world of digital and instant, we should’ve been focusing readily on positively identifying customers based on what we know and understand about them. What customers really want, is to make authentication happen in as few steps as possible. To do that, you need to passively build up a confidence or trust score for your customer interactions based on an array of known information.

3. Deliver strong authentication with the telephony channel

While two-factor or multi-factor authentication have become the norm on digital channels, the telephony channel still suffers with long-winded IVR menus and answering multiple identification questions. Now is the time to deploy strong authentication in the telephony channel and provide better experiences while making it harder for fraudsters to access your customers’ data or accounts.

4. Deploy voice biometrics as an extra layer of authentication and defence

Customer authentication is the single biggest issue facing contact centres. It makes life difficult for agents whose main role is to solve customers’ problems, rather than interrogating them to make sure they are who they say they are. Customers hate it because it creates confusion. And it’s this confusion that gets exploited by fraudsters to mine data and socially engineer agents. Through voice biometrics, we can quickly identify genuine customers and spot fraudsters. However, it isn’t just about implementing the technology, but also ensuring it fits into the appropriate business processes and that it is communicated to agents and customers alike to deliver a real solution.

5. Don’t pretend you know everything and be curious about fraud

Organisations must be constantly inquisitive as to what’s going on in the contact centre and relentlessly focused on spotting the signs of fraudulent behaviour, by examining anomalies. Read thought leadership, sign up for webinars and engage with your networks and community, while remaining receptive to new operating concepts and new technology.

6. Fraud and security should work together

Fraud prevention should be a non-competitive issue across departments and industry sectors. There are numerous organisations that bring experts together sharing information to identify trends, new practices and known fraudsters. But this collaboration and cooperation needs to go beyond the boardroom and extend throughout your organisation too. Bring together core departments to enact a more holistic approach to fraud prevention and tie it in with your security policy.

7. Education, education, education

As we head towards another recession where we know fraud instances rise, now is the time to launch a comprehensive education campaign with contact centre agents and others in the industry. One of the most significant challenges facing contact centres, is that those on the front line are often unaware of the sophisticated approaches fraudsters adopt for their attacks. Sometimes fraudsters will call a potential target several times and socially engineer situations into their favour. It is essential then to educate frontline staff to spot the tell-tale signs of fraud and teach them the best practices for mitigating risk for themselves and customers.

8. Be proactive and actively seek out fraud and its indicators

As an organisation, a strong policy of constant education with employees must be adopted, but also be more proactive as an organisation in terms of finding out trends and practices. The sheer volume of calls reaching the contact centre and the demands placed on agents to reduce average handle times and increase the number of calls answered means that there is an increased chance of mistakes happening. The nature of this equation is that you need to invest in people to meet the demand, and ensure that they are educated to be aware of all the risks posed by active fraudsters.

Keep your contact centre fraud free and improve customer satisfaction

Smartnumbers determines the level of trust of each call by analysing more than 200 features of incoming calls while in the carrier network. By identifying trusted callers pre-answer, you can safely offer legitimate customers access to a broader range of self-service transactions within the IVR. Additionally, having more assurance of the caller’s identity you can fast track authentication should they wish to speak with an agent. Either way, the caller has their enquiry dealt with quicker, a massive boost to customer satisfaction.

On the other hand, by identifying high-risk calls in the network you protect your contact centre from fraud at the very first stage. Suspicious calls can be sent directly to specialist teams or agents can be notified about the level of risk that the call represents. A big blow to fraudsters.

You can download the full eBook from the Smartnumbers website.

In collaboration with: Chris Wade

Chris Wade is the Product Manager at Smartnumbers.


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In collaboration with: Chris Wade

Chris Wade is the Product Manager at Smartnumbers.