Ten major audio data thefts that have occurred in the last year have led to the development of a device that detects and blocks the ‘DTMF' tones and obscures card details.

Set to be released in less than two months by British company Veritape, ‘CallGuard' solves a technical problem for call centres that has appeared to be near insurmountable until now. The company claimed that the theft of customer payment data exchanged over the telephone could be eliminated, particularly as a recent study by Veritape identified 93 per cent non-compliance to payment data regulations amongst UK call centres due to the complexity and cost of compliance.

Cameron Ross, managing director of Veritape, said that industry rules make protection and non-storage of credit card details a mandatory requirement for call centres, but despite this, most call centres are in breach of the guidelines.

He said: “The eureka moment came during a company away-day, amidst the flip charts and whiteboards. Businesses have been searching for a solution to the problem of protecting customer data given in over-the-phone transactions for years, without a massive overhaul of processes and systems. We've worked out a simple and affordable way of achieving that. This is especially relevant where a company has already invested thousands of pounds in a call recording system, only to later find that it does not comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations.

“The beauty of Veritape CallGuard is that it is ‘plug-and-play' technology, there is no complicated or expensive integration with current systems, it simply ‘bolts on' to the existing set-up.”

According to Veritape, CallGuard is fully compatible with any call recording system and ensures that recorded telephone conversations are fully compliant with the PCI DSS regulations. It works by detecting and blocking ‘DTMF' tones, the sounds produced when keying in a number. By doing this it prevents any storage of the numbers being communicated by the customer.

At the same time it automatically enters these card details into password style fields, which themselves are obscured with asterisks or similar. The technology is built into a box the size of a large shoebox with an additional small USB device per workstation. It can also work internationally, protecting calls made to offshore call centres.