UK falls victim to international criminal gangs as borderless phone fraud rises

PRESS RELEASE: The rise in fraudulent calls made to the UK by international criminal gangs has almost doubled in the last 12 months. According to a new report from fraud protection and authentication company Pindrop, 52 per cent of fraudulent calls made to UK financial institutions in 2016 originated from countries outside of the UK. This is up 24 per cent compared to 2015, indicating the growing prominence of call centre fraud as an international crime.

Matt Peachey, Vice President and General Manager, Pindrop International comments: ” Our research has found that criminals are branching out and attacking UK financial organisations and their customers, across international lines. This highlights the need for organisations to get a better understanding of criminals who are using the phone, to ultimately steal from customers.”

Using its patented Phoneprinting™ technology, Pindrop analysed millions of calls to UK call centres, compiling the findings into the 2017 Call Centre Fraud Report. Of the calls analysed it was also found that almost none of the calls hitting UK call centres originated from landlines.

According to the 2017 report, almost 90 per cent of fraudulent calls made to the UK used mobile phones and internet calls, suggesting these go-to tools for fraudsters have further facilitated the international reach of the calls made. Fraudsters are also using spoof caller ID tools and distortion apps to disguise their voices and conceal their location so that their identity and source of the call remains hidden from call centre agents.

Combined, these techniques have created more opportunities for profit, as fraudsters walked away with more money per call in 2016. Pindrop® Labs’ research shows that the average loss per fraud call in the UK jumped up to £0.86, a sharp increase from the £0.51 per call in 2015.

Peachey continues: “Fraudsters are getting better at their craft, honing their skills and becoming more confident at using techniques to bypass current defences on the phone channel. Organisations need to be just as vigilant on what has consistently been a neglected entry point, in the same way they do with their online channels. This rise in borderless fraud via the phone serves as a stark warning – organisations are leaving their customers vulnerable to attack. A better line of defence on this channel is needed.

“With a multi-layered approach to authentication, organisations can quickly and accurately identify the risk factors that can better track fraud attempts across multiple channels and quickly detect where these attempts originate.”

Mike Haley, Deputy Chief Executive at fraud prevention experts Cifas said: “Fraud is a growing issue in the UK and organisations are under pressure to provide the right assurances that customer data and finances remain protected. This report helps to build an accurate picture of the international fraud landscape and how it impacts UK organisations and its customers. As the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, we encourage organisations to use new methods to stay one step ahead, so that we can begin to eliminate fraud across all channels.”

For this report, Pindrop® Labs analysed more than a half billion calls to major call centres in UK and US, using its patented Phoneprinting™ technology. By using the Phoneprinting™ technology to analyse every call using 147 unique characteristics, Pindrop® solutions help increase customer protection and satisfaction while reducing fraud losses and operational expenses. According to Pindrop, its Phoneprinting™ technology is highly resilient –- detecting voice distortion, Caller ID Spoofing, gateway hijacking and other obfuscation techniques. In addition, the Phoneprinting™ technology helps identify multiple callers associated with the same phoneprint, which allows enterprises to detect and track fraud rings in the UK and abroad.