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. 
though this is required by the
Financial Intelligence Centre Act
(FICA), to prevent money laundering and other dodgy business
Ms Nkonzo was a victim of
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
“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
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
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.