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Bank’s voice ID system detects record number of fraud attempts

Image credit: Ilia Burdun | Dreamstime

More than 17,000 fraudulent calls were picked up last year by a bank’s voice identification system which helps it to root out criminals from genuine telephone banking customers.

The VoiceID system, developed by HSBC UK, identified double the number of fraudulent phone calls in 2019 compared with the previous year, with the bank stating that around £400m of customer’s money was prevented from falling into the hands of criminals.

This increase in activity being detected is thought to be partly due to a significant number of high-profile third-party data breaches, phishing emails and scam text messages that have taken place over the last couple of years. Such scams have allowed criminals to get their hands on some details about people.

According to HSBC, within the first month of 2019, there were less than 1,000 telephone frauds being identified by the bank’s voice ID technology.

VoiceID was introduced by HSBC in 2016 to help its customers securely access their telephone banking, with less emphasis on them needing to remember passwords.

The system, which customers can opt into, analyses voices by checking more than 100 behavioural and physical vocal traits, including the size and shape of someone’s mouth, how fast they talk and how they emphasise words. It can also recognise someone’s voice if they have a cold or sore throat.

After the account details have been entered, a customer says the phrase: “My voice is my password,” before being given access to their account, HSBC explained.

More than two million HSBC customers currently use the biometric system, with over half a million of those having registered for it over the last year. Since 2016, customers have been verified more than 25 million times through the system.

“The introduction of VoiceID has not only made it much more convenient for customers accessing their accounts, but it has also been instrumental in stopping more attempts at telephone fraud than ever before, protecting customers’ money,” said Kerri-Anne Mills, head of contact centre and customer service at HSBC UK.

She added: “We are now enrolling around 16,000 customers in VoiceID each week and the technology continues to be instrumental in the fight against fraud, providing a library of fraudsters’ voiceprints to cross-check against new incoming calls.”

In September 2019, Lloyds Bank said a multi-faceted security system for detecting financial scams nicknamed ‘The Rat’ prevented nearly 2,000 customers from being ripped off by criminals.

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