U.S. Consumers Believe Customer Support Calls Put Them at Risk for Fraud

Half (46%) of Americans admit they have been a victim of fraud, but nearly all (92%) think the risk of fraud is increasing in our day-to-day activities. Even more concerning, nearly one third (31%) have actually felt at risk for fraud when contacting a brand's customer service department, and 47% said it was because they had to share personal information with a customer service agent. That's according to Sitel Group and CallMiner's 2019 Preventing Fraud & Preserving CX with AI Report, which uncovers consumers' experience and concerns around customer service fraud, voice assistants and information security.

The report also found that 86% Americans think brands could do more to protect customer information and prevent customer service fraud, and 28% of Americans do not trust that the brands and companies with which they do business are handling their personal information securely. Although 67% of Americans feel most comfortable contacting a brand or company they're doing business with over the phone, the majority (87%) are still worried that sharing their personal information with a brand over the phone could make them vulnerable to fraud.

Despite customers feeling most comfortable contacting a brand on the phone, 71% of Americans worry that the personal information captured on call recordings could put them at risk for fraud. But artificial intelligence (AI) may be the saving grace for brands looking to boost customer confidence. In fact, not having technology like AI to monitor fraudulent activity on accounts may be a dealbreaker for consumers. More than half (55%) of Americans would stop doing business with a brand if they found out the brand didn't use technology such as AI to monitor for fraudulent activity on their account.

Additional findings from the report also found:

Customer's Believe Banking and Financial Services are Most Susceptible to Fraud

  • More than half of Americans (52%) think the banking and financial services industry is the most susceptible to customer service fraud. This is compared to retail (30%), healthcare (7%) and insurance (4%).
  • However, nearly two-thirds (65%) also believe the banking and financial services industry is the most proactive in leveraging technology (i.e. artificial intelligence) to detect unusual activity on their accounts to prevent fraud. This is compared to healthcare (8%), insurance (6%) and retail (5%).

Americans Are Skeptical of Voice Assistants for Customer Service, But Interest is Growing

  • Nearly one in five (18%) Americans have used a smart assistant like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to conduct a voice search and call a customer support phone number for a company. Gen Zs (23%) and specifically Gen Z men (37%) are the most likely have used a smart assistant to call customer support.
  • The majority (65%) of Americans would not comfortable making a purchase via a smart assistant. But 43% of Americans said they would not feel comfortable making a purchase via a smart assistant because they're worried someone could hack into their device and steal their information, and 29% worried their information wouldn't be stored safely by the channel.
  • While 85% of Americans do not use voice authentication (a type of security authentication that relies on a person's unique voice patterns for identification), more than one in eight (13%) do.

Fraud is a Concern Across Multiple Customer Service Channels

  • The majority of Americans (47%) think contacting a brand's/company's customer service department through social media presents the most potential for fraud
    • This is compared to phone (15%), voice assistants (14%), online live chat (10%) and SMS (4%)
  • While having to share personal information with a customer service rep (47%) is the top reason that people felt they were at risk for fraud when contacting customer service, other reasons include having to share financial information with the rep (30%), worrying that other people at the company would steal their personal information (13%) or not trusting the customer service rep (8%),
  • Americans are so concerned about fraud that nearly seven in 10 (68%) have questioned or wondered why a customer service or customer support representative asked for certain personal information.

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