Why the Call Center Business Needs to Focus on Customer Privacy
January 16, 2013
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The term identity theft has many of us focusing more attention on the protection of our private information. For some, that means no longer making purchases online while for others, it means banning the use of social media sites. Still others are simply increasing the authentication protection of the apps and services they use to try to make it too difficult for hackers to tap into their information.
While these steps can make a difference, some hackers are bold enough to simply connect with a call center business
and provide just enough information to an agent in order to get their hands on the profile of another. It worked for the individual targeting Paul Allen, the Microsoft (News
) co-founder and billionaire. Allen may not miss the $15,000 an AWOL U.S. Army soldier charged to his account, but the methods used to make this possible are nothing short of alarming.
According to this Network World (News
, the AWOL soldier simply placed a call to the Citibank call center and requested a change of address on Allen’s card. This simple interaction was a success and a new card was shipped to the given address, providing the access needed to rack up the $15,000 in charges.
In another incident, Wired magazine Reporter Mat Honan nearly experienced the complete erasure of his digital life when a hacker used account information from his social media profiles to gain access to account information through both Apple (News
) and Google. While it’s assumed these two giants in the field would have the ultimate in protection for their users, it seems just a little personal info and the right call center agent is all that’s needed to take on the identity of another.
The common theme in both stories is the misuse of the call center business to access individual information for people other than the approved individual. If this issue were to become an ongoing problem, call centers overall could suffer an industry blow. Trust between the call center and the customer is essential if transactions are to be completed.
The loopholes that exist for a number of organizations in the call center business are exactly what make them a target for individuals seeking to steal data. Information regarding compliance is easily found in a search on the topic, but are violations enforced or are individual organizations taking the bull by the horns to shore up their defenses to protect their brand? The latter would be preferred as it implies proactive activities to protect client proprietary information.
Fortunately, companies offering solutions to promote the activities of the call center business can help in the process. Voicent
, for instance, offers a call center CRM (customer relationship management) product that is designed to automatically track caller ID, making it more difficult for a criminal to claim to be a particular customer when a phone number doesn’t match. The solution also tracks all interactions so if an erroneous call comes in, the customer’s account can be flagged as at risk.
Overall, the call center is in place to serve the customer, not to put them or their information at risk. Ensuring the right tools are in place to authenticate the caller while delivering the optimal experience delivers value on both sides of the transaction.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein