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Society is slowly emerging from its long COVID-related hibernation. Consumer financial transaction volume is increasing everywhere. And financial fraud crimes appear to be increasing at about the same rate as consumer spending.

In other words, your members aren’t the only ones enjoying an economic recovery. Fraudsters are too.

Considering all banking channels (web, phone, and branch,) fraud attacks grew by a stunning 159% in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020. Not surprisingly, the bulk of the fraud attacks occur online. It’s where the majority of financial transactions now take place.

But you still see financial fraud in call centers, and you’ll continue to do so. This blog provides tips on how to recognize it and possibly improve how you defend your members and your credit union against fraud.

Call center fraud got worse during the pandemic

Even before COVID-19 virtually closed local economies everywhere, call center fraud was on the rise. Between 2013 and 2016, reported incidents rose about 45%. And by 2019, the expected frequency of imposter fraud increased to about once every 700 calls.

Like just about everything else, it got worse in 2020. Part of it was due to the increased financial stress and uncertainty members had to deal with. On top of job losses, they had new financial things to worry about, like stimulus payments, increased unemployment benefits, and paycheck protection loans.

Plus, your call center employees had to adjust to a new work-from-home reality. The resultant home-based distractions from kids, pets, and spouses simply created lots more security risks. The fraudsters knew it and took advantage of it.

Human frailty is often the key that opens the door to fraud

Humans are the weak link a scammer will usually try to exploit. Armed with easy-to acquire information like an account number, and a mother’s maiden name, a crook can often convince a call center rep to grant access to another person’s account.

After all, once a scammer is armed with information and technology, he no longer has to outsmart an algorithm. He just needs to convince one person – the call center rep – he’s a legitimate member.

Your call center agents should be trained to spot fraud

As we noted, call center fraud almost always comes down to a person who takes advantage of another person’s inattention or vulnerability. This is why your agents should be coached on specific factors that demand extra attention.

  • The scam artist will always be personable and friendly
  • Verify phone numbers; they can be spoofed
  • PINs are easy to obtain
  • Other ID information is also easy for a con artist to acquire
    • Account number
    • Phone number
    • Address
    • Birth date
    • SSN

Smart home devices are fairly easy to hack

And now smart home devices make the work-from-home problem even worse. Things like an Amazon Echo or Google Home device operate because they have wi-fi connections. So does a baby monitor, for that matter. All three of them are another hackable point of access to your home network.

This vulnerability is on top of the other distractions that crop up constantly at home. If you have call center agents who still work at home, you should probably suggest they turn off these devices while they’re working.

MemberPass is the ticket to help avoid call-center fraud

MemberPass is a secure encrypted digital connection between you and your members. It protects and insulates members from identity theft, imposter fraud, or account takeover.

It’s easy to use, and the members control their own personal private information. No third party is involved. Ever. With MemberPass in place, financial fraud virtually disappears!

If you haven’t already added MemberPass to your credit union, we’d be happy to arrange a personal demo

Seeing is believing. You can email us to set up your own demo. You can also register to attend a MemberPass webinar or visit us online at www.memberpass.com to find out more.

The convenience, security, and fraud-fighting power of MemberPass should be part of every member’s financial wellness profile. The sooner you adopt the program, the sooner your members will enjoy the direct benefits!

Bonifii, a credit union service organization, offers MemberPass, a simple, secure, and convenient member identity verification method. MemberPass is a digital passport that provides convenient access to financial accounts while the members keep control of their private personal information. We leverage touchless technology to protect you and your members. Visit www.memberpass.com or email sales@memberpass.com.