Banks Harvest Callers’ Voiceprints To Fight Fraud

The caller said her home had burned down and her husband had been badly hurt in the blaze. On the telephone with her bank, she pleaded for a replacement credit card at her new address.

"We lost everything," she said. "Can you send me a card to where we're staying now?"

The card nearly was sent. But as the woman poured out her story, a computer compared the biometric features of her voice against a database of suspected fraudsters. Not only was the caller not the person she claimed to be, "she" wasn't even a woman. The program identified the caller as a male impostor trying to steal the woman's identity.

The conversation, a partial transcript of which was provided to The Associated Press by the anti-fraud company Verint Systems Inc., reflects the growing use of voice biometric technology to screen calls for signs of fraud.

Two major U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., use voice screening, also known as voice biometric blacklists, according to three people familiar with the arrangements, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because the system was meant to remain secret.

Altogether seven major American financial institutions are already using such blacklists or have run pilots, said Shirley Inscoe, an analyst with the Aite Group, a research and advisory firm.

Inscoe declined to identify the institutions, but said they largely saw them as a quiet and effective way of dealing with fraud.

"It's in the background. It doesn't affect the call in any way," said Inscoe. "Nobody even knows it's happening."

The blacklists are one of a growing number of everyday uses of speaker recognition, once a high-tech tool used by security agencies.

Many governments and businesses use voiceprinting openly.

"A recent AP survey of 10 leading voice biometric vendors found that more than 65 million people worldwide have...

Comments are closed.