Financial institution call centers are one of the biggest targets for phone fraudsters, according to a report released by Pindrop Security.

Pindrop reviewed phone fraud activity in financial services call centers during the first six months of 2013 to understand the frequency of attacks and the methods and motives of phone fraudsters.

The company found that one in every 2,500 calls affecting financial institutions is fraudulent. Some scam calls are for reconnaissance purposes, some are to make account profile changes that could be used to steal money, others are requests to replace a debit or credit card.

Over the first six months of 2013, Pindrop observed phone fraud attempts ranging from a few thousand dollars to as much as $800,000. An institution that takes 50,000 calls a day loses an average of $28,500 a day and slightly over $10 million a year in phone fraud losses, the report estimates.

About half of all fraud calls originated from mobile devices, while one third came from VOIP and the remainder (14%) from landlines, the study found. This contrasts with legitimate calls, of which 14% are VOIP and the remainder split between mobile devices and landlines.

Fraudsters are increasingly targeting consumers directly. During 2012, Pindrop Security counted over 2.4 million consumer complaints of phone fraud attempts. The company found close to the same number of complaints in the first half of 2013. More than 73,000 consumer complaints indicated that the fraudster was impersonating a financial institution, and nine of the top ten financial institutions were named in these fraud attempts.

Pindrop was listed as among the Top 10 Tech Companies to Watch this year by Bank Technology News, a Collections & Credit Risk sister publication.


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