By Brett Beranek – Senior Principal Solutions Marketing Manager, Enterprise, NuanceIn a report by Infinity Research, the findings revealed that the annual cost of fraud is going to reach $6.3 billion dollars in 2015 for the banking and financial sector, and that number is only expected to grow. That's a staggering statistic that should have organisations thinking twice about measures to improve their security and fraud prevention.We've heard a lot in the news about recent security breaches and the massive ripple effect they have for businesses – not only in direct financial loss, but also in lost business due to unhappy customers that were put at risk. In today's digital economy, the risks of security breaches and the threat of hackers should be top-of-mind for IT and security executives alike. As fraudsters and viruses become more sophisticated, so must our approach to ensuring the safety of customer data.Unfortunately, in a world still heavily reliant on passwords and security questions, fraudsters are now breaching phone, mobile and IVR security systems by using social engineering to hijack customer credentials.This multi-billion dollar liability is affecting companies of all shapes and sizes worldwide – and these new tactics mean that password-based authentication is now a major vulnerability for enterprises and their customers. The good news is that voice biometrics is now a viable option for companies seeking to put an end to risky and frustrating pins and passwords, allowing customers to authenticate easily, safely and seamlessly. In fact, Infinity Research goes on to estimate that voice biometrics can prevent 90 percent of fraud cases over the phone channel – quite an impressive prediction.Voice biometrics has already been used effectively by some of the world's largest financial institutions to stop fraud attempts, and just as importantly, to prevent future fraud by providing law enforcement with voice biometric evidence. Case in point: at one major financial institution, voice biometrics is being used to analyse calls coming into the organization's contact center, comparing those caller's voices to known fraudsters' voices collected from previous calls. As a result, the organisation was able to identify a fraudster who had been responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars of fraud – and they were able to stop a large fraud transaction in its tracks, providing information about the fraudster to law enforcement. The use of voice biometrics has also helped to stop new fraud. In fact, the organization has seen a 59 percent decrease in account takeovers and over $1 million in prevented fraud loss.And, voice biometrics doesn't just boost your security – firms can also use it to improve contact center interactions and wait times, streamline business processes via automation, and create differentiated customer experiences to enhance brand perception and marketing programs. For example, industry-leading companies like Banco Santander and others have seen dramatic decreases in average handle time (AHT) thanks to voice biometrics authentication. Our own research also shows that 90 percent of customers are comfortable with voice biometrics if it means tighter security.These are just some of the reasons why voice biometrics is gaining such traction and is seen as an exciting alternative to risky pins and passwords.