Using voice biometrics in fight against fraud

If HomeChoice had been using a fraud authentication scanner then they may have picked up that Thandi Nkonzo’s sister-in-law used her ID to fraudulently open an account (“Call for help after account opened without consent”, Off My Trolley, April 15).

Apparently HomeChoice and many other virtual businesses do not have measures in place to verify the buyer’s credentials, nor do brick and mortar stores. 
Even though this is required by the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), to prevent money laundering and other dodgy business practices. Ms Nkonzo was a victim of impersonation. 
Now the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) has signed an agreement with OneVault which will allow it to use its LumenVox Passive Voice Biometric and Fraud Scanner Authentication Platform (PVA) which will take the fight to fraudsters to a higher level. Manie van Schalkwyk, executive director of the SAFPS, said it will give “the public extra protection in the fight against fraud”. 
The SAFPS has made significant investment into their technology infrastructure and have appointed Pivotal Data to provide them with a fully hosted, state-of-the-art, contact centre technology that will allow them to provide their members with enhanced services and solutions. 
“As technology advances, the opportunities for fraud increase exponentially as fraudsters become more sophisticated in their actions. The OneVault system confirms the identity of a caller by matching voice audio against a previously enrolled voiceprint. 
“Passive authentication takes place in the background, while the caller is talking to a contact centre agent. The customer’s voice is matched against a previous conversation. The solution will also facilitate the authentication of a caller’s voice against a watchlist of known fraudster or imposter audio that SAFPS has – and will continue to build – in real-time,” Mr Van Schalkwyk said. 
Passive voice authentication allows organisations to verify the identity of a customer in a call centre environment during a normal conversation by making use of voice biometrics. Just as two people do not have the same fingerprints, no two people have the same voice or manner of speaking. 
Voice biometrics uses someone’s unique vocal characteristics including pitch, tone, and rhythm of speech to identify them in the same way other biometric technologies use fingerprints or retinal scans. Mr Van Schalkwyk said the SAFPS is a key player in fraud prevention, and as such have always embraced technology that gives the company the upper hand in the battle against fraud. 
“The SAFPS will be rolling out the PVA within the company and we are confident that this will take us into the 21st century. Making use of this technology will allow us to have a centralised fraud database which it can always refer to when it comes across suspicious cases. The technology will also be made available to SAFPS members which can then enrol their customers via their network of call centres across South Africa. 
“The advantages of this technology to our members is obvious. Our members need to be sure that they are either talking to the correct person, or identify a potential fraudster, they can also offer a new level of customer service. If rolled out properly, call centre agents won’t have to go through the normal security checks when talking to a customer,” Mr Van Schalkwyk said. 
PVA will also make the credit application process simpler and safer, something that every credit provider will want to take advantage of in the future.
Credit providers can run their “Know-Your-Customer” (KYC) checks in real time and can respond appropriately. One of the biggest challenges in the fight against fraud is that the crime is often only detected after the criminals have defrauded their victim and have made off with their identity or money. 
There is a desperate need to be able to improve reaction times when fighting particular types of fraud; passive authentication, and its real-time identification properties, could help to address this. Vanda Dickson of OneVault, explained that using PVA along with Fraud Scanner will give the SAFPS a significant advantage in the fight against fraud. 
“Using PVA in combination with real-time watch-list functionality will allow SAFPS to use real time identification to verify who they are talking to. This is a major development in the fight against fraud. As the custodians of fraud prevention in the country, the SAFPS is not only increasing its relevancy, but it is adding significant value to its members at a time where it is desperately needed,” said Ms Dickson. 
Victims of impersonation fraud can list themselves as victims (free of charge) on the SAFPS database. SMS the word “Protectid” to 43366 – the organisation will contact the consumer and take them through the process to get listed as a victim of impersonation. Visit or call 011 867 2234 EXT 267 or fax 011 867 2315 for help and information. 
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