'The other day, I had to do the unthinkable and actually pick up the phone to make a call (shudder). I was having trouble booking a hotel room online and figured that my credit card company, Chase, was doubting my desire to go to Calgary in February and had flagged the purchase as potential fraud. While we all appreciate it when our credit card company prevents fraud (I will forever be grateful to Amex for noting that I would never spend $2,000 on televisions at a Walmart in Mississippi), it is annoying when they block real purchases and force you to pick up the phone and speak into it.
But as it turns out, doing admin on the phone isn’t just an annoyance these days. It’s also a way to prevent fraud through voice biometrics.
In Chase’s case, the biometric program was announced back in April, but there’s a good chance many customers missed the announcement. (I missed it, and I actually write about these topics for a living.) Now, when you call Chase, an automated recording informs you that your voice is being used to identify you in the hopes of preventing fraud. Pick up the phone and you’re being recorded to make a “voice print,” which, according to Chase’s website, “is created from more than 100 different physical and behavioral characteristics such as pitch, accent, shape of your mouth, and vocal tract as you speak with a customer service representative.” (What happens if some identity-thieving criminal calls first is still TBD.) Once your voiceprint is created, Chase will use it the next time you call to “quickly verify it’s you.”
Chase claims Voice ID will heighten customer security while letting customers skip the rigamarole of remembering their favorite elementary school teacher’s first pet’s name or answering other security questions in public forums. As for the security of your Voice ID print, Chase claims that your voiceprint is securely stored as a mathematical equation. Plus, according to Chase, it can only be used to verify your Chase account.
But Chase isn’t just amassing data on its customers. It’s also collecting intel on known fraudsters for so-called “voice biometric blacklists,” which keep tabs on identity thieves and credit card scammers and prevent them from accessing bank information or requesting new credit cards. This is in addition to the biometric databases being built by prisons.'
Read more: Calling your bank? Be prepared to have your voice biometrics collected
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