Carlson Marketing & VoiceVerified Crack the Code on Identity Theft

Minneapolis | November 30, 2007

For consumers concerned about identity theft, Carlson Marketing and VoiceVerified have teamed up to offer consumers safer, simpler and more secure access to their accounts. Instead of having to manage PINs and passwords or divulge personal information, access is granted by the sound of a person's voice, their unforgettable password™.

"This gives our clients an unbelievable edge with their customers, in terms of customer satisfaction and brand differentiation," said Andy Wright, executive vice president, Global Marketing Services, Carlson Marketing. "It has a huge 'cool' factor; it's totally secure; and it actually reduces contact center costs."

For the seventh year in a row, concerns over identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission's list of consumer complaints. No wonder: identity theft costs have exceeded $50 billion annually for the past few years. At the heart of efforts to mitigate identity theft is strengthening the process of granting account access to assure that only legitimate account holders get through.

According to the September 2007 issue of Speech Technology Magazine, this year U.S. contact centers will ask identity verification questions of 43 percent of the 43 billion calls received. That will cost about $11.7 billion and 11,000 years of contact center agents' time just to check identities.

Adds Carlson's Wright: "Consumers want simpler, not more hoops to jump through. But they want convenience without sacrificing safety, security and privacy. VoiceVerified® service provides all of these, plus operational savings to boot."

Here's how VoiceVerified® technology works: A customer either calls into a system or is called by the system, and is asked to recite six, five-digit phrases. From that, the system creates a mathematical representation of his or her voice, called a voiceprint. For subsequent transactions, the customer is prompted to recite a random five-digit number; if the voice matches the voiceprint, he or she is granted access or approval.

"Partnering a technology like VoiceVerified that can do so much for so many people with a recognized global leader in consumer marketing like Carlson can help accelerate consumer adoption," said Jeffrey D. Randol, chairman & CEO of VoiceVerified. "Carlson cracked the code on loyalty marketing and the travel industry, and now together we've cracked the code on identity theft."

According to Avivah Litan, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst, Gartner, Inc., "In order to be successful with any form of authentication for consumer applications, you must assure convenience without sacrificing security and privacy."

Carlson Marketing has introduced the biometric technology to several clients principally in the telecom and financial services industries. According to Wright, those are the industries that can best recognize the benefits of voice biometrics and appreciate the ease-of-use and security needs addressed by the technology.

Customers no longer will have to remember and enter an eight-character password with numbers and special characters. Now they just respond to a phone prompt with their voice which is verified virtually instantaneously. The accuracy meets the FCC's requirement for password protection of Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) password requirements for telecom and enables compliance with Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) requirements for multi-factor authentication.

"Protecting the privacy of customer data is one of the most important challenges facing companies today," said VoiceVerified's Randol. "Doing this while making things simpler for people and the businesses and institutions that serve them is a real win for consumers and industry alike. The only folks who suffer are the identity thieves."

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