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TRUSTID Issues 2019 ‘State of Call Center Authentication’ Report

TRUSTID, Inc., a Neustar company, released its second annual report on the state of call center authentication, based on a recent survey of contact center professionals. TRUSTID, a provider of caller authentication and fraud prevention solutions for contact centers, commissioned the survey to gain a clearer understanding of how call centers are seeking to fight fraud while preserving the customer experience.

The report suggests that as criminals’ tools and tactics change, call centers are increasingly looking to new technologies that will enable them to quickly and accurately authenticate calls and prevent fraud while ensuring high customer satisfaction.

The report elaborates on the following key insights:

  • Call centers are now the vector of choice for criminal attacks, according to 51% of respondents from the financial services industry. Because many call centers still rely on knowledge-based authentication (KBA), fraudsters find it easier to social engineer call center agents to take over accounts — using client information stolen via data breaches to correctly answer identity-interrogation questions — than to hack hardened targets online.
  • Virtualized calls pose the greatest account takeover threat. Criminals attempting account takeovers are increasingly shifting from call spoofing (32%) to virtualization (e.g. computer- or web-based calling services, such as Skype) (40%), as virtual calls often sail through spoof-detection systems.
  • Customer experience and fraud prevention are expected to improve in tandem. Though dissatisfaction with current methods to authenticate callers rose significantly from 2018 (46% “somewhat” or “very” unsatisfied in 2019, compared to 31% the previous year), 76% of respondents believe it is possible to prevent account takeovers without impairing the customer experience.
  • Pre-answer caller authentication emerges as the preferred choice. Respondents recognize that rapid authentication is essential in delivering a positive customer experience, and 54% of this year’s respondents want authentication completed before the call is answered, up from 38% last year.
  • Easy customer enrollment remains call centers’ top requirement for the second year in a row. This year, respondents again ranked “quick and easy customer enrollment” (91%) as the most important criterion for new authentication technologies. “Improved fraud detection” (91%) and “authentication accuracy” (90%) were also clear front-runners.
  • The share of respondents planning for true multi-factor authentication has doubled. As stolen personal information continues to enable account takeovers through the phone channel, the share of organizations planning to replace KBA with new technologies to achieve multi-factor authentication—using two or three factors of authentication in concert to confirm a caller’s claimed identity—has increased, from 8% in 2018 to 17% this year.

The report is based on the responses of 134 contact center managers, customer experience leaders, information technology professionals and fraud managers surveyed in January and February of 2019. The top three industries represented among respondents are financial services (31%), technology (17%) and health care (11%).

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