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Schwab Voice ID Biometric Privacy Violations – Class Action Investigation

November 17, 2021 by  

Ahdoot Wolfson is investigating a potential class action lawsuit against Charles Schwab & Co. (“Schwab”) for possible violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (commonly known as “BIPA”). 

Schwab is a well-known investment and brokerage firm that we believe violates BIPA by failing to obtain written consent from customers and failing to provide required disclosures to customers before creating voiceprints of Illinois residents who enroll in Schwab’s “voice ID” service.

Voice ID allows a customer to use their voice instead of a password to gain access to their account. When a customer enrolls in the service, the system asks the customer to say the phrase, “At Schwab, my voice is my password.” Schwab then uses voice biometrics technology to create a create a voiceprint based on the unique patterns of the customer’s voice. Whenever that customer calls Schwab after setting up voice ID, they are prompted to repeat the passphrase, “At Schwab, my voice is my password” to be securely verified. If the system confirms a match between the customer’s voice and the stored voiceprint, the customer is authenticated and permitted to conduct certain transactions over the phone.

The Illinois BIPA statute requires written consent from the customer before a company may collect, store, or use the customer’s biometric information, including voiceprints. BIPA also requires a company using biometric data to publish a policy establishing guidelines for the permanent destruction of the data in the future. Schwab’s creation and use of voiceprints without written consent and without published guidelines for destruction of the data may violate the statute.

If Schwab has created and used your voiceprint in violation of BIPA, you may be entitled to statutory damages, including:

  • $1,000 for each violation;
  • $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation; and
  • Reasonable attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses.

If you enrolled in Schwab voice ID while a resident of Illinois, please fill out the form below and one of the attorneys at Ahdoot Wolfson will contact you.