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During the pandemic, as in-person customer service interactions became impractical, consumers found they needed access beyond traditional service options, including online, mobile, and other self-service outlets. For call centers, this meant increasing call volumes — even as they, too, dealt with changes as a result of the pandemic, such as the shift to remote work. According to Pindrop’s recent 2021 Voice Intelligence & Security Report, for some businesses, call volumes grew over 800% in the second quarter of 2020, resulting in staffing challenges and increased hold times for customers. During this time, fraud attempts at the call center agent level shrank by 25%.

Firms have seen more fraud and new types of fraud since the pandemic began.

Above: Participants were asked how Covid-19 pandemic has affected their business.

Image Credit: Pindrop

Good news, right? Wrong.

While fraud at the agent level may have decreased during the pandemic, 57% of fraud detection and prevention decision makers reported experiencing an increase in fraud attacks, and 66% reported seeing new types of fraud. As a result of increased hold times, fraudsters didn’t stop their attacks, but found new ways to perpetrate them to perform account takeover attacks as well as unemployment and loan scams.

How did they do it? By targeting vulnerabilities in contact center Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, allowing fraudsters to bypass the agent and abuse the IVR for intelligence on customer accounts and updates on transaction and loan details. Using advanced algorithms, fraudsters auto dial IVRs, crack PINs, DOBs, and the last 4 of a SSN in a matter of hours. The IVR has become a critical piece to the account takeover process, with 57% of call center firms reporting incidents of IVR account mining. And with only 34% of firms reporting they’re able to discover and stop fraud in real time with a high degree of confidence and accuracy, there’s a good chance fraudsters are getting away with it.


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As technology evolves, the IVR may bear more responsibilities assisting the consumer. That means contact centers bear even more responsibility to secure it.

Data was sourced from Pindrop Labs and a commissioned study and survey of 259 global fraud detection and prevention decision makers conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Pindrop in October 2020.

Read Pindrop’s full 2021 Voice Intelligence & Security Report.

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