A caller identification programme has helped HSBC reduce telephone banking fraud by half over the last year, equivalent to £249 million.
The bank’s Voice ID system holds a copy of the customer’s voice on file, which it then compares a caller’s voice against. This allows it to determine whether a caller is genuine. In order to use the service, customers need to register for it.
According to HSBC, the voice biometrics system has identified over 43,000 fraudulent phone calls and protected £981 million worth of customers’ money.
With the onset of the pandemic and increased uptake of digital services, additional customers have signed up for the bank’s caller ID scheme. Currently, it has around 2.8 million active users.
HSBC UK Head of Contact Centre and Customer Service Kerri-Anne Mills said: “We’ve seen unprecedented challenges as the pandemic and lockdown restrictions transformed our lives significantly and, unsurprisingly, more people have turned to online and mobile banking to take control of their finances, utilising other channels for very particular interactions.
“Voice ID has not only made telephone banking more convenient for customers accessing their accounts, but it has also been instrumental in stopping attempts at telephone banking fraud, protecting customers’ money.
“Scammers are sophisticated and it’s a constant challenge to keep ahead of them but this is promising – we’ve seen a 50% drop in reported telephone banking fraud year-on-year. We are now enrolling around 14,000 customers in Voice ID each week and the technology continues to be instrumental in the fight against fraud, providing a library of fraudsters’ voice prints to cross check against new incoming calls.”
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As more people use online services to handle their finances, cybercrime becomes more lucrative. Cybercriminals are constantly developing new tricks and tactics to gain access to user data, and ultimately their money, whether through traditional schemes, accessing accounts or ransomware.
As such, organisations need to develop new ways to protect customers data. New tools such as password managers, 2-factor authentication and systems like HSBC’s Voice ID are essential in staying one step ahead of the cybercriminals.
However, cybercriminals have been leveraging the power of AI to put many of these new techniques at risk. One of the new methods available to hackers are vocal deepfakes. With a relatively small amount of information, an AI can be trained to generate a convincing imitation of a person’s voice.
A well-trained and produced vocal deepfake could be used to trick a computer system. While many deepfakes are created using publicly available material, such as corporate videos to imitate a company’s CEO, a phone call from a scammer could gather information needed to create a deepfake.