US Consumers Believe Customer Support Calls Put Them At Risk for Fraud

US Consumers Believe Customer Support Calls Put Them At Risk for Fraud

Sitel Group has found that more than four in five Americans think brands could do more to prevent customer service fraud and one in four don’t trust that brands are handling their personal information securely

Half (46%) of Americans admit they have been a victim of fraud, but nearly all (92%) think the risk of fraud is increasing in our day-to-day activities. Even more concerning, nearly one third (31%) have actually felt at risk for fraud when contacting a brand’s customer service department, and 47% said it was because they had to share personal information with a customer service agent. That’s according to Sitel Group and CallMiner’s 2019 Preventing Fraud & Preserving CX with AI Report, which uncovers consumers’ experience and concerns around customer service fraud, voice assistants and information security, in honor of International Fraud Awareness Week, November 17-23, 2019.

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Currently, CallMiner empowers organizations of any size to extract and take action on intelligence from customer interactions for improving customer experience, sales, marketing, and compliance, as well as agent and customer engagement center performance.

“The Preventing Fraud & Preserving CX with AI Report revealed critical consumer concerns around fraud that brands and customer experience agents must address to stay competitive in the market,” said Cris Kuehl, VP, Analytics and Client Insights at Sitel Group. “With a third of consumers feeling at risk for fraud when they call a brand, it’s important that brands utilize the appropriate technology and data insights to train customer service agents. When an agent can better explain why they need personal information from a customer it mitigates security fears and creates a better experience.”

The report also found that more than four in five (86%) Americans think brands could do more to protect customer information and prevent customer service fraud, and 28% of Americans do not trust that the brands and companies with which they do business are handling their personal information securely. Although 67% of Americans feel most comfortable contacting a brand or company they’re doing business with over the phone, the majority (87%) are still worried that sharing their personal information with a brand over the phone could make them vulnerable to fraud.

“With the advancements in AI and speech technology that we’ve encountered in the past few years, fraud monitoring has vastly improved,” said Jeff Gallino, CTO and co-founder at CallMiner.

Jeff added, “While Americans understand the importance of fraud monitoring, it’s now time for brands to go a step further and better communicate to customers how fraud monitoring is implemented into the system to protect them.”

Despite customers feeling most comfortable contacting a brand on the phone, 71% of Americans worry that the personal information captured on call recordings could put them at risk for fraud. But artificial intelligence (AI) may be the saving grace for brands looking to boost customer confidence. In fact, not having technology like AI to monitor fraudulent activity on accounts may be a deal-breaker for consumers. More than half (55%) of Americans would stop doing business with a brand if they found out the brand didn’t use technology such as AI to monitor for fraudulent activity on their account.

Additional findings from the report also found:

Customer’s Believe Banking and Financial Services are Most Susceptible to Fraud

  • More than half of Americans (52%) think the banking and financial services industry is the most susceptible to customer service fraud
    • This is compared to retail (30%), healthcare (7%) and insurance (4%)
  • However, nearly two-thirds (65%) also believe the banking and financial services industry is the most proactive in leveraging technology (i.e. artificial intelligence) to detect unusual activity on their accounts to prevent fraud
    • This is compared to healthcare (8%), insurance (6%) and retail (5%)

Americans Are Skeptical of Voice Assistants for Customer Service, But Interest is Growing

  • Nearly one in five (18%) Americans have used a smart assistant like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa to conduct a voice search and call a customer support phone number for a company
    • Gen Zs (23%) and specifically Gen Z men (37%) are the most likely have used a smart assistant to call customer support
  • The majority (65%) of Americans would not comfortable making a purchase via a smart assistant
    • 43% of Americans said they would not feel comfortable making a purchase via a smart assistant because they’re worried someone could hack into their device and steal their information, and 29% worried their information wouldn’t be stored safely by the channel
  • While 85% of Americans do not use voice authentication (a type of security authentication that relies on a person’s unique voice patterns for identification), more than one in eight (13%) do

Fraud is a Concern Across Multiple Customer Service Channels

  • The majority of Americans (47%) think contacting a brand’s/company’s customer service department through social media presents the most potential for fraud
    • This is compared to phone (15%), voice assistants (14%), online live chat (10%) and SMS (4%)
  • While having to share personal information with a customer service rep (47%) is the top reason that people felt they were at risk for fraud when contacting customer service, other reasons include:
    • Having to share financial information with the rep (30%), worrying that other people at the company would steal their personal information (13%) or not trusting the customer service rep (8%)
  • Americans are so concerned about fraud that nearly seven in 10 (68%) have questioned or wondered why a customer service or customer support representative asked for certain personal information.

Currently, Sitel Group’s 75,000 people across the globe connect many of the world’s best-known brands with their customers – 3.5 million times every day. As a global customer experience (CX) management leader, we apply our 30+ years of industry-leading experience and the entrepreneurial spirit of our group’s founders to deliver omnichannel experiences through voice, chat, social media and more to customers of our 400+ clients across all verticals – from Fortune 500 companies to local startups.

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