/ Money

Scam warning: fake phone calls from the ‘Visa’ fraud department

A complex scam involving phone calls from ‘Visa’ followed by the ‘police’ is currently doing the rounds. Here’s what you need to watch out for.

30/07/2019: ‘Visa’ fraud department scam returns

Over the last few weeks, we’ve received multiple reports of this scam phone call doing the rounds once again:

Reports of the ‘newer’ version of this scam appear to vary, with some saying that two fraudulent calls are received – one from the fake fraud department, and another from the ‘police’.

Meanwhile, others are reporting an automated call in which you’re prompted to ‘press 1’ if you did not authorise the claimed transaction. This figure has been consistently reported here as £600.

If you receive an unsolicited call like this and are unsure if it’s legitimate, always check with your bank via its official contact channels instead of following any instructions.

If you’re worried about calls like this, or have fears you may have been a victim, read our full guide to phone scams here.

Calls can also be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via its online reporting tool.

Have you received this scam call recently? Continue to let us know and warn others in the comments.

Original Convo 19/05/2017

Which? member Brian told us:

‘I was called by a man purporting to be from the Visa fraud department. He said they’d registered two large transactions on my debit card earlier that day at Argos and the Apple Store. This last transaction had supposedly been stopped as it was ‘not my usual spending pattern’ and I hadn’t authorised it.

‘He told me about further transactions that had been stopped until this matter could be sorted out, and that I needed to phone 161 to report that I had been the victim of identity fraud.

‘I didn’t immediately call the number. Within 10 minutes, I received another call, supposedly from the police, who had apparently received a call from my number ‘via triangulation’! He asked whether I wanted a patrol car sent or if there was anything I needed to report, so I put the phone down.

‘My bank confirmed this was a scam and that none of these transactions had taken place. I suppose if I had called 161 they would have asked for my card details.’

Fake force

Brian’s suspicions were probably correct. Whatever number he dialled, it’s likely the scammer would have stayed on the line and posed as the police.

The triangulation claim after he failed to make a phone call to the number he was given was bizarre. The police will never ask for your bank details when you report an ID fraud.

If Brian had asked for a patrol car, the scammers would probably have attempted to take his card.

He was right to double-check with his bank.

Have you received similar phone calls? What did you do?

Anjela LEVY says:
24 November 2020

Have just had an unexpected recorded call on my phone. Introduction which a man’s voice claiming they were investigating fraud team. Concerning unusal activity using my NI.Press 1 to speak to someone about the situatation otherwise I will be arrested.One I do not take threating behaviour by anybody. Do not care who you are or what you may be. I know that Police do not leave phone numbers or speak to you concerning any crime they wish to speak about. This is not Police procedure. Nor do they leave recorded messages. One thing I noticed about the voice was how I recognized his voice. What is even more bizzare the number they called from is exactly my phone number but using 1 digit different. Am going to ring my bank just to be on the safe side. Yesterday I had a message from Amazon saying I had won a prize of 1,000 to spend on Amazon. That cannot be correct because I never entered any competition. Linked to this message was F.B wanted to verify I was me. One was to verify my password then wanted to scan my irises. Now it was time to delete all of what was sent. Am not gullible. Certainly not stupid and I am dam more smart than these disgusting people. They are so convincing and vunable are taken in by them.The effect and damge these people do to others is so immense. Just by the messages they leave can cause devastation. But I can smell such ballshit. They really are scum. Thankyou if you do take the time to read this comment.

Angie says:
24 November 2020

Received recorded message on home phone saying £600 payment made by credit card and asking me to press buttons on keypad. I put phone down. Call came from 01202661678.

I have just received an automated call from number 01349929014 asking me to press 1 to decline or authorise a transaction for £600 “made 15 mins ago to a foreign country”. I put the phone down.

Jennifer says:
9 December 2020

I’ve just had exactly the same call from 0123016407. When I dialled the number it was unrecognised.

I’ve just received a call from the “Visa Security Department” asking if I have made a transfer to a “Richard” at 6.30am. I knew it was a hoax straight away, so I asked the person on the phone directly. They denied it was a hoax, and said I was right to ask as these things are happening all the time. If I was a vulnerable person, I would I have believed them and handed over my details. They were blatantly sticking to their story. The man continued asking what transactions I had done recently and to whom. I asked him again if he was phoning from my bank, he said no, it was from the Visa Security department and continued asking loads of questions. At this point I decided to tell him I was recording him (I was not unfortunately!) and he put the phone down. I’ve checked my account online and no payment of the sort had left my account. No shame whatsoever…

Ennui says:
28 November 2020

Same call received this morning on my mobile, within 5 minutes of receiving another scam call about a virus on my internet connection that needed me to give them access to my main computer. Watch out for these scumbags and stay safe.

02890325321 just had txt message to my phone saying western union and another payment which i dont use has been flagged as suspicious. hit 0 to speak to an operator. I hit 0 and spoke to professional sounding Indian person, asked for a number to call back as wasn’t sure if this was premium rate. Guy put down call immediately.

Martyn says:
1 December 2020

They are now using mobile phone numbers to ring with recorded message to say £300 has been spent on my Visa card approx 30 mins ago the number used was 07791394881

denise groves says:
2 December 2020

07791764182 called us 08:44 am today – on lockdown-opening-day (2nd December 2020) . The worst kind of scammers. Claim £300 taken from our unspecified VISA account – press 1 to speak to an advisor (be switched to high rate phone line and be phished for data, more like). Please report these scammers and get them arrested by lunchtime.

Colin says:
7 December 2020

Received a recorded message from “Alison” about a card transaction for £1049; told me to press 1 to confirm or 2 to cancel. Didn’t tell me which card, or whether it was credit or debit. Caller’s number was 01122186760, but of course this may not be genuine. I didn’t choose either option, just waited to hear if anything else happened. After a few more seconds the call was terminated. Fairly sure this is a scam.

Jim Allison says:
12 January 2021

My advice would be to get a call blocking phone. You can store friends and family in the ‘phone memory, they will get through. All other calls will receive an announced message. “Calls to this number are being screened by a call blocker, please say your name, then press the # key to connect. You then have the choice of accepting , rejecting the call by pressing numbers 1 to accept, 2 to always accept and 3 to reject permanently. There is also a “block” button on the phone which you can press at anytime and block the call permanently. This the best piece of landline kit I’ve ever bought, no scammers, insurance or double glazing salesmen. It also has a “do not disturb” feature which if activated will only allow your chosen VIP numbers to call even if “do not disturb” is switched on.
These phones can be bought for around £50 from BT, Amazon etc.

If you use broadband, I’d also advise purchasing a Virtual Personal Network (VPN) Every broadband user as a unique IP address, with a VPN, you can physically be in Manchester or numerous other places and pretend to be virtually anywhere worldwide, but still be at home. The VPN changes your IP address, so your computer is invisible online. A must for those who use online banking.

Hope this helps.

JimA (Telecommunications Engineer and Mac user for 27 years)

Darren Jeeves says:
8 December 2020

Just received the£600 fake call,I just hung up,it is a worry for the more vulnerable people who receive this,the only way to stop it is to give power of attorney to others close to them

Getting about 20 of these an hour from all over the place (we have caller display) – some from the UK and some from abroad. As a company that deals nationwide in the UK and extensively abroad, it is impossible to screen calls from the numbers shown. It’s a real pain having to answer and put the phone down all the time. The message….not original…..that 600 quid on Visa via the robot voice.

Marie Dennison says:
11 December 2020

Just had a phone call from 01858 586401 asking me to press 1 to confirm a £600 payment made from my account. I put the phone down. Market Harborough code number.

David Williams says:
11 December 2020

The phone numbers used are fictitious and if you try to phone them back they don’t exist so you will get a message saying something like “You have dialled an incorrect number”, they can originate from anywhere in the world even though they display a valid UK code. I had three on Monday which seems like the favourite day in our area, one claimed to be from BT Openreach, he said, How are you today? I replied, Fine but not ready to be Scammed, he hung up.

Had a call this morning from a spoofed UK number, “Visa Fraud Squad” apparently £400 spent on Amazon and £700 sent via Western Union by a well spoken British woman, press O to allow, press 1 to cancel, just for a laugh I pressed 1, asked for my name, I said I was Shirley Cammer.. then they asked where I banked, I said Barclays and so on, they did ask me to go into my pc and to put in an address on Google, I wasn’t at my laptop at this point and I’d already left them hanging while I went and made a cup of tea and used the bathroom. I wasn’t quick enough to take down the web address but I’m pretty sure they were trying to show me that someone from California was on my laptop as they’d said the Western Union money was sent to Mountain View, Cali which of course is where Google is based. In the end I just said if you stop wasting my time I’ll stop wasting yours and put the phone down.

Anne Tidd says:
12 January 2021

I live in North Yorkshire UK and I’ve just had an automated call supposedly from Visa saying a £600 payment had been made on my Visa card. I was asked to press 1 if this payment had not been authorised. The telephone number was 0016694704290 which I believe is the country code for Hawaii. Needless to say, I put the phone down asap. Looking at other comments, this is a widespread scam.

Raymond Stewart says:
14 January 2021

Just had an automated call from 01649264872 asking me to authorise or decline a payment of £600 to a foreign country. Press 1 to authorise or ???? put the put the phone down without hearing the rest. Checked the number and there had been no previous searches for it.

Had a call from 0208 551 7143 said £600.00 have been paid from my visa card if you did not authorize press “1” I hang up. when I dialed the number back it said recheck and dial again.

Kirsten Givens says:
19 January 2021

Just had a call from 01327 142022 to our company phone line. Automated voice said it was from the fraud something (team or department maybe, I cannot remember) about a card transaction sent overseas for £600. Press 1 if it was you or press 2 to speak to someone if it was not you. I didn’t press anything as I didn’t know what to do, I think it timed out waiting for a response.