The lessons learned by the entire world throughout the year 2020 are that concerted responses and coordinated action are required to effectively suppress the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical professionals must adopt new practices, local, state, and federal governments must develop track-and-trace mechanisms, and ordinary citizens must adopt risk-aversion strategies such as wearing masks and physically isolating themselves from others.
Unfortunately, as a result of the pandemic, dishonest people have begun robbing people and stealing their belongings. And, like the fight against the virus, the fight against COVID-19 fraud will require the participation of multiple parties.
Call center operators must keep this in mind and use an omnichannel approach to combat fraud. This means that end users, call center agents, security teams, and technology must all work together to deter fraudulent activity.
Even if modern customers are aware of identity theft and may have a basic understanding of the tactics used by con artists, this awareness does not always translate into action. According to a recent Pindrop poll, ninety percent of consumers were aware that they should not reuse passwords across different services; however, fifty-nine percent of customers admitted to doing so anyway. Internet posts that appear to be harmless can put customers at risk of fraud.
Consider the following scenario: you choose the name of your pet, your birth city, or your high school as the answer to an account recovery security question. If you write about your pet, join a group called “hometown,” or post on the profiles of your high school or college alumni, you may lose control of your Facebook account.
Putting yourself in the shoes of a con artist may not be fun, but acting on what you know about illegal behavior may help keep customers safe online. Businesses and financial institutions can help their customers by educating them about the potential threats they face and the tools, such as password management systems, that can help them stay safe from those threats.
Con artists might give the impression that they are not interested in call centers or automated systems that offer interactive voice response (also known as IVR). Customers are not likely to engage in high-value transactions such as money transfers or other types of transactions when interacting with an interactive voice response system (IVR). However, one of the most serious security risks a company can take is leaving an interactive voice response (IVR) unmonitored and unsecured. Fraudsters are increasingly taking advantage of this vulnerability.
Research conducted by the Aite Group indicates that in 2020, forty-six percent of financial institutions will suffer greater financial losses as a result of fraud committed in their contact centers than they did in 2018. In addition, in contrast to a game of three-card monte played in the twenty-first century, the vast majority of fraudulent activities that take place in the modern world are not straightforward, one-time occurrences that can be finished in a matter of minutes. Instead, modern fraud is a laborious process that can take several months to finish.
Because of advancements in technology and advances in machine learning, it is now possible to anticipate possible instances of fraud up to two months in advance. Fraudsters will use call flows and self-service prompts to obtain information that they will later put to use for their benefit. Scammers take the long view and engage in a drawn-out game; security teams need to be able to match the strategies used by fraudsters.
IVR monitoring is essential for institutions, but call center representatives also need to receive ongoing training to ensure that they can continue to serve customers effectively while also discouraging con artists from using their services.
A positive trend is a fact that the vast majority of calls that agents receive are from legitimate customers: only about one police officer out of every 700 calls has a criminal motivation. Even more encouragingly, recent developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies have made it possible for agents to be tipped off to potentially dangerous calls by having the calls flagged as suspicious. It is possible to identify up to 80% of real-time fraud attempts; agents can receive real-time risk rankings for each of the calls that they take in the course of their work.
The epidemic that has been going around this year makes these strategies all the more important and useful. Swindlers may try to convince agents to help them by claiming, for instance, that they need the information to assist a hospitalized relative who was laid off but never received their stimulus check. This is one example of how con artists may try to convince agents to assist them in their schemes. This tactic is designed to appeal to the better natures of the agents. The independence that comes with working from home can also make it easier for thieves to commit crimes.
During an average year, agents can quickly consult nearby coworkers or signal the supervisor who is the closest to them. In today’s age of telecommuting, unplanned, impromptu interactions with coworkers are less likely to take place, even though these interactions are essential to the detection of fraud. Because it is more challenging for call center agents to consult their coworkers, they need every advantage they can get in their fight against fraud. Call center agents need every advantage they can get in their fight against fraud.
On the other hand, criminal activity does not cease during a pandemic and, in some cases, may even increase as a direct result of the pandemic. This is the case even though both companies and their customers are struggling as a result of the pandemic. Businesses need to not only empower themselves but also the individuals who do business with them, to stem the tide of identity theft and fraud. This will allow them to more effectively combat the problem. We have the potential to be charitable while also protecting our bottom line if we educate our customers, keep the security of our interactive voice response (IVR) systems up to date, and provide our representatives with the tools and training they need.