Bank’s voice identification technology picks up more fraud attempts

9 March 2020, 15:14

HSBC bank branch
HSBC anti-fraud system. Picture: PA

In 2019, more than 17,000 fraudulent calls were identified by HSBC UK’s VoiceID biometrics system, double the number in 2018.

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

Nearly £400 million of customers’ money was prevented from falling into the hands of criminals, HSBC UK said.

Its VoiceID system identified around double the number of fraudulent phone calls in 2019 compared with the previous year.

The 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.

These have helped criminals to get their hands on some details about people.

Not one month went by in 2019 with less than 1,000 attempted telephone frauds being identified by HSBC UK’s 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 even recognise someone’s voice if they have a cold or a sore throat.

After account details are inputted, a customer says the phrase: “My voice is my password,” before being given access to their account.

More than two million HSBC customers currently use the biometrics system, with over half a million having registered for it last year.

Since its launch in 2016, customers have been verified more than 25 million times through VoiceID.

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

“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’ voice prints to cross-check against new incoming calls.”

By Press Association

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