25th March 2024

CCMA report viewpoint: We need a collective approach to fraud prevention

By Matthew Addison

Smartnumbers CRO Matthew Addison shares his thoughts on fraud prevention in light of the recent report, Balancing fighting fraud with customer experience, produced in partnership with the CCMA.

The following is based on the report forewords provided by Smartnumbers’ Matthew Addison and CCMA CEO Leigh Hopwood.

The rise in fraudulent activities directly correlates with the growing prevalence of remote customer interactions. This underscores the urgent need for reliable and secure methods to authenticate customers across all communication channels. Although cybersecurity has begun to address this in digital domains, it has resulted in fraudsters shifting their focus to more vulnerable channels, such as contact centres and the customers themselves.

The impact of fraud is substantial, affecting millions of people and costing the UK alone nearly £7 billion annually, constituting 40% of all reported crimes. What is especially concerning for customer service professionals is the fact that 61% of fraud is associated with the contact centre. Therefore, the challenge of balancing multiple controls against customer experience has never been more demanding.

It is no surprise that this CCMA report shows that in 2023 36% of consumers have experienced unauthorised account access attempts. Yet, despite us all knowing we shouldn’t make life easy for fraudsters, nearly a quarter of us still only use less than three passwords across all our accounts. This succinctly highlights the challenge that contact centres and our colleagues are facing. 

Leigh Hopwood, CEO of CCMA echos this as she relates her own experience: ‘like every consumer, I want my contact centre experiences to be easy, quick and painless’, she says. ‘In the past I didn’t pay too much attention to my security settings and I was easily frustrated by clunky authentication methods’. 

Today, after personally falling victim to fraud, she is now more aware of the role that we all play in protecting ourselves and how hard it is for organisations to defend against the ever-changing and increasingly elaborate techniques used by fraudsters. 

Moving forward organisations must all adopt behaviours that prevent fraud and improve the identification of genuine consumers. AI-powered technology plays a key role in helping with this challenge, enabling us to identify the first signs of fraudster reconnaissance to create a world where security and customer experience harmoniously coexist. 

We also need to collaborate and share information. As Leigh says, ‘for contact centre professionals there can only be benefits to sharing useful knowledge and experiences around this fast- moving topic.’. 

We hope this report sparks insightful conversations and innovative solutions to propel our collective journey to fight fraud.