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Phone Fraud Activity Spikes in 2016: Report

The amount of fraud at call centers increased by more than 100% between 2015 and 2016, according to a report released by Pindrop Labs, a provider of anti-fraud technology to call centers.

The number of fraudulent calls increased from 1 in every 2,000 calls in 2015 to 1 in every 937 calls in 2016, according to the report. In 2013, the rate was 1 fraudulent call in every 2,900 calls. The spike is especially being felt in the United States, where the increased adoption of chip-and-PIN debit cards has sent fraudsters looking for other ways to commit their crimes. And they are flocking to call centers.

Fraud is costing call centers $0.58 for every call they receive, according to the report.

In many cases, fraudsters will appear to be angry, rushed, or in some other kind of hurry to throw call center agents off their prepared scripts. Fraudsters will use call spoofing technology and voice distortion software to circumvent the “limited” protections, according to the report. This usually comes after the criminals have amassed enough information about the person they are impersonating to pass the knowledge-based authentication that most call centers require, such as the last four digits of a Social Security number or a mailing ZIP code.

The growth of voiceover-Internet-protocol and other technology has also made it easier for criminals in foreign countries to commit crimes in the U.S. In 2016, less than 20% of fraudulent phone calls to U.S. call centers were from inside the 50 states, down from just under 50% a year earlier.

While not specifically related to debt collection, phone-based fraud is a problem that the ARM industry needs to be aware of. Individuals may be stealing or using stolen card information to make payments.

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