Contact Center Fraud – Are You at Risk?

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Contact Center fraud is on the rise, in fact according to a report by Pindrop Labs, it increased by 113% from 2015-2016. One of the largest areas of growth is with agent assisted phone calls, which provides fraudsters with the opportunity to “socially engineer” their way into accounts. They reach out to the contact center, get information, access accounts and then re-contact through another channel to commit the fraud.

Increasingly, businesses are endeavoring to differentiate themselves from competitors by making customers happy and providing them with exceptional experiences. But when it comes to account security, it can be challenging to stick to protocols and procedures when on a call with someone without negatively impacting the experience. Is it any wonder that agents who are trained to “delight” customers are vulnerable to attack?

Strategy 1: The Offensive

One technique that fraudsters use is to capitalize on lengthy wait times and service inconsistency, and present themselves as irate customers. By playing up their dissatisfaction with the customer experience, and by leveraging system failures, they can more easily persuade agents to forego procedures and protocol in an effort to please “the customer”. Agents tasked with keeping the customer happy will be more likely to bend under the pressure and reveal account details with the annoyed caller.

Strategy 2: Empathy

Another technique used by fraudsters is to target the humanity of the agent by striving to gain their empathy. They use stressful situations and circumstances to manipulate the agent into bending the rules for them. They might play the sound of a child having a tantrum in the background, or describe a scenario where they are stranded by the side of the road. In an effort to help ease the caller’s stress, the agent is tempted to provide an easier experience for them, to be viewed as helpful.

What can businesses do to protect their contact centers from these attacks?

One way contact centers can be better positioned to protect their customer data is to have full visibility into customer interactions across the organization – regardless of channel. Although much of the fraud takes place over the phone, often it starts with a query on one channel, and then another, before reaching out with a phone call to complete the transaction. Fraudsters know that for many organizations, these channels are separate entities and the interactions that take place on them are handled by different groups or individuals, who have no awareness of activity on the other channels.

With an omnichannel solution in place that provides agents with full visibility into previous interactions, and even provides the ability to pick related items up from other channels, agents are empowered with information. They can also be protected with alerts when a caller has reached out x number of times in the last week (for example) about account information. With these tools and more, they are better able to identify unusual account activity and protect against fraud.

In a recent webinar, Upstream Works Software explored fraud in the contact center, discussing vulnerabilities and strategies to reduce risk and protect organizations from fraud. Watch the webinar.

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