In fight against fraud, Chase, Wells Fargo are quietly harvesting some callers’ voiceprints

LONDON — “This call may be monitored.”

You hear it every time you phone your bank about a lost credit card or an unexpected charge. You may realize your bank is recording you, but did you know it could be taking your biometric data, too?

An Associated Press investigation has found that two of America’s biggest retail banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Wells Fargo & Co. — are quietly recording the biometric details of some callers’ voices to weed out fraud. The technology, sometimes called voiceprinting, is aimed at bad guys rather than legitimate customers, but legal and privacy experts alike still have reservations about the practice.

“Reducing fraud is a good thing,” said Jay Stanley, an analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. But he warned that “we can’t anticipate what bright new uses this database will be put to in the future.”

Blacklists help banks by alerting them to repeat calls from clever crooks who try to break into people’s accounts armed with personal data gleaned from credit bureau reports or stolen in high-profile cyberattacks like the ones which have rocked Target and other major U.S. retailers.

Read on.

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