Friday, November 28, 2003

Voice-Based Fraud Detection

The Register reports on the latest in fraud detection:

"Online insurer Esure is to use technology that recognises when a speaker is under stress in a bid to detect fraud. The company hopes using voice risk analysis (VRA) technology will speed genuine claims, cut fraud and make its claims process more efficient... VRA - which identifies micro changes in the voice that can occur when a speaker is showing higher levels of stress - will be used by esure from 4 December.

The company is keen to emphasise that the technology is a 'stress detector' not a lie detector. When a speaker experiences stress when answering a question or recounting an exaggerated or false statement, the frequency of their voice changes, according to studies originally conducted in Israel. It is this factor that VRA registers and assesses. The system compares responses to particular questions with baseline responses, answers to simple questions that can only be answered truthfully."

Let's consider this for a moment. Say I suffer a car accident. I am going to be very stressed. If I were calling to report the accident, will I trip "VRA"? Of course my voice pattern will differ from earlier calls made to check my deductible or get a new statement mailed. Here's a case where false positives will result in Esure losing business. Still, fraud reduction is a worthy goal.

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