Voice Prints: A New Answer to Identity Fraud

According to the Federal Trade Commission, more than 279,000 people registered complaints about identity theft in 2011. This was the 12th year in a row that identity theft was the number one consumer complaint category.

Current methods of authenticating callers include confirming telephone numbers, account numbers, requesting the last four digits of Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, requiring PIN numbers, and even so-called social questions like the name of one’s first grade teacher. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of calls to contact centers today require some sort of caller verification. Intrusive screening questions are a major annoyance for the 99.96 percent of callers who are not trying to dupe anybody.

Individual voice prints are among a family of unique personal identifiers known as biometrics. Examples are fingerprints, retinal scans, and voice prints. These are useful for authentication purposes because they cannot be forgotten, lost, stolen, or replicated. Voice prints can be used to either identify fraud attempts via the telephone or help authenticate real customers.

Victrio is one company that uses voice print technology to help corral telephone fraudsters. Founded in 2008 and recently acquired by Verint Systems, Victrio has built a global database of 15,000 fraudulent voice prints and created algorithms that take into account voice attributes and other pattern indicators that collectively help pinpoint the identity of the offender.

The software analyzes the caller’s voice in real time, matches it against its database of known offenders, and calculates a score that determines the level of alert that will be delivered to the agent’s desktop. If an alert is prompted, the agent can put a hold on the transaction while collecting whatever additional identity information the caller may reveal that could help security forces track down the offender.

Voice print technology is already being adopted by major banks and credit card issuers. We see tremendous opportunities in other industries as well, such as healthcare, insurance, and securities trading.

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