29th March 2024

Fraud in contact centres is on the rise, but we’re well placed to tackle it 

By Grant White

The key to combatting fraud in the contact centre is to spot suspicious calls before they are answered, and with increased mobile phone usage and technology to flag spoofed numbers, this is getting easier.

This is an excerpt from our Contact Centre Security Report 2023: the hidden fraud lurking in the shadows. You can find out more and download the full report here.

Our research showed that the majority of today’s legitimate callers to a contact centre have a couple of things in common: they rarely call from withheld numbers and the vast majority call in from a mobile. And when it comes to spotting the fraudsters amongst the real customers, this is good news.

Ofcom research1 shows that by 2021, smartphone take-up was at 88.7% and our own data echoes this with a nearly 10% increase in calls reaching the contact centre from a mobile device in the past 5 years. 

The simplicity of mobile number portability and the dwindling use of landlines in the home mean that a mobile number is a much more reliable unique customer identifier tied directly to customer accounts. Something that was impossible with shared and frequently changing landline numbers. 

This represents a significant opportunity for the contact centre to streamline security processes and customer authentication based on the number being used to make a call.

Managing fraud through a customer experience lens 

By making use of mobile phone numbers as a way to help identify legitimate customers, contact centres can eliminate friction in the authentication process and greatly improve customer experience.

Collection and maintenance of accurate customer data, including mobile numbers, therefore should be a key priority for improving security and providing a better customer experience. 

Are spoofed numbers a risk?

Spoofing is not illegal in the UK, but it is an issue. While not a leading indicator of fraud, it does make it difficult to trust the number you see fully. And as more organisations rely on mobile numbers to identify customers, it is inevitable that fraudsters will evolve their tactics to include number spoofing. 

So there is a small risk is that fraudsters will use spoofed numbers to fool your system, confirm the number belongs to your customer and even skip security checks. And although our research shows that fraudsters don’t waste much effort spoofing numbers today, with just 3 in 10,000 spoofed number calls flagged as suspicious, it is important to have the right checks in place.  

Modern spoofing can be pretty tricky to detect as the means to do so becomes more sophisticated. Detections requires knowledge of the thousands of legitimate routes calls can take into your organisation and the ability to compare them using machine learning techniques. 

A solution like Smartnumbers that is able to spot and flag callers using spoofed numbers before a call is answered, alerting contact centres to handle these calls carefully, is essential to mitigate the spoofing risk.

Delivering a top-notch customer experience while maintaining account security and customer trust is a fine balance but it’s achievable with the right technology.
For more information and to read our report, click here.