/ 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?

Jennywren says:
28 May 2021

I had a phone message (beginning missing as I was outside at the time) saying from Visa and asking if a transaction on my VISA card for online shopping was legitimate and to press 1 if not. I had been outside collecting a Sainsbury’s delivery which would have been marked “delivered” digitally at the same time and thought initially it was a genuine call until I realised my card was Mastercard, not Visa. Was this just coincidence? Or did someone know I’d had a Sainsbury’s delivery and was chancing it?

Jenny – A genuine enquiry from a bank or credit card issuer would have started with some security checks to ensure they were speaking to the right person. They would also have given you some identification details including the date and time of the transaction, the name of the supplier, and the exact amount involved.

Possibly more than half the households are doing on-line shopping now and half the adult population might have a Visa card in one form or another, so the scammers have a pretty high chance of an initial strike for little effort. That’s why that part of the call is usually a recorded announcement.

Their next task is to convert that into a fraud attempt by triggering a denial response [Press 1 if this isn’t you etc]. The more unlikely the set-up and the scale of the possible loss, the higher is the probability that shock and panic will make rational action difficult and yet another dazed fish has been caught in their net.

Thursday 3rd June 2021: received 2 automated calls this afternoon stating that my visa card has been used to make an online purchase for £900.

Press 1 to stop

13:00 call from 07971 120536
13:45 call from 07957 070264

Both automated messages by a female.

I recieved the same. Three calls this morning from different numbers all the same automated message. Saying an online payment of £900 tried from my debit account.

07601 676227
07611 071514
07697 770634

Sandra Tesseyman says:
5 June 2021

I have just received a scam call for a £600 fraud on my bank visa debit card from No. 07081284945 (says it is from the UK), asked me to press 1, and I spoke to a lady with a foreign accent who said I had a fraud on my bank visa debit card, I asked her twice which visa debit card was this and she hung up the phone.

CB says:
15 June 2021

Same experience as me. Number was 07763 925477.

Cathy Maxted says:
8 June 2021

The fake Debit card call from 07732199215 is doing the rounds again, I’m O2 network – Kent, had 1today & yesterday

I just had an automated woman’s voice telling me that my Visa Debit card was about to be charged £900 and to press 1 to stop it. It’s from the number 07751 044268.
Clearly a scam, because they haven’t identified themselves, or asked me for identification, or taken me through security.
After they asked me to press 1, I obviously didn’t press anything, but nor have I hung up. That way, they pay for the phone call until I do hang up. I will now leave it for hours and hours until I go to bed, so they are landed with a huge phone bill from their mobile number.
I would encourage everyone else to do this with scammers!

Neil Bass says:
14 June 2021

Nice idea, but they’ll timeout and drop the line.

kathryn corrigan says:
16 June 2021

I have just received the exact call…even the same amount of money! The only difference was the phone number : 07753 176656

Two calls in two days, from numbers that were obviously spam, telling me that I needed to authorise two payments by pressing 1 etc. Seems there is no point in reporting these, they are a bit like COVID and will be with use for ever in one form or another. Just never press 1!

CB says:
15 June 2021

Glad I checked this site. Received a call from a ‘fraud department’ asking if I had authorised £600 to be paid to a man in California. I asked for more details about where the caller was from, including which bank, to which she said they represented all banks. Hmmm ok. Upon further investigation from me, she got irate and hung up. Definitely fishy.

Just received a similar call from 07753145224

Automated phone call from 07636355141saying that £900 had been taken from my Visa account and to Press 1 if this had not been me. I phoned Visa and of course no fraudulent transactions made. Never Press 1. Always contact your bank yourself.

An alternative would be to register for online access and use an app to check recent and pending transactions. It should take only seconds to confirm that this is a scam. As you say, never press 1.

Ant says:
24 June 2021

There’s nothing inherently dangerous about pressing 1 if you’re aware it’s a scam, pressing 1 will not give them any means to hack your phone and it presents a welcome opportunity to share your thoughts of such scams with those doing the scamming.

Fair enough, but if you don’t press 1 there is no chance that you will be scammed. It’s probably useful advice not to engage with scammers, for most people.

Jason Burns says:
11 August 2021

Except that if when you press 1 your call is ‘rerouted’ to a premium rate number? Could be expensive. i wouldn’t press 1 simply because it’s a pointless exercise. Nothing changes…they become irate…you become irate…and not much accomplished either way.

Actually, I suspect that pressing 1 and fighting back against the scammers can be effective in stopping them from calling. Also, I have not seen any evidence that pressing 1 can lead to premium charges for UK subscribers.

But, overall, I think the best option for most folk is just to have a phone system configured to automatically screen out all nuisance calls.

Ant says:
24 June 2021

This morning I received a recorded message from “HMRC”, informing me of a fraud case in my name and threatening me with immediate arrest should I hang up. I hung up.

An hour later I received another recorded call, this one from a “Visa Credit Department”, for a fraudulent payment of £900 made online. I opted to press 1. A man with a strong accent answered. Before he could say more I used one or two choice words and suggested he perform an unnatural act upon himself. He hung up.

“Who was that on the phone ?” my wife demanded. “It’s OK”, I replied, “it wasn’t your mother”.

Linda Tedder says:
24 June 2021

Automated female voice advising £900 transaction made on my VISA and press 1 to stop. No security checks and a decidedly dodgy phone number 0781271368.

Happened to me this morning. Number was 020 7476 4932. Same amount. Fortunately I was walking past a cash machine at the time and was able to check my balance. No such transaction has taken place. Told the chap on the phone that I’d contact my bank myself. end of conversation. Went home and did just that. No such transaction, even in the pending tray.

Ant says:
24 June 2021

Be aware that caller IDs may easily be faked (or spoofed). Spoofing is sometimes used for legitimate reasons but more often than not these days it’s used more nefarious reasons.

The caller ID is not a reliable indicator of the calling phone number

freddie says:
15 July 2021

just had the call now, automated female voice saying press one as £600 fraudulent activity on my card and saying they are going to freeze it, number is 07548603475 UK o2 mobile number

sylvia holmes says:
16 July 2021

just received a call from 07846 472632 purporting to be from visa fraud department about a £900 transaction on my account. Hung up

Rory Ingram says:
4 August 2021

similar call from 07814449074, claiming to be visa debit, £900, press 1…

Today 10th August call from 07519 758503 Visa Debit security at 11.05 am…..Activity on …….( put phone down before recorded message went further)

Sue PF says:
11 August 2021

Similar to others calls this morning with electronic voice message saying £900 had been used on my debit card for online purchase. The first call was a missed call so not knowing what it was I rang the number- nothing.
Then got another call which I picked up, this was the one that mentioned the £900.
The numbers are +441380893306
Definitely a phishing call

17 August 2021

I received a call a short while ago saying I had been charged £900 on my visa card and to press 1 to rectify this charge. Using my BT Call Protect I discovered the call number was from a local call STD code. Having blocked further calls from this number I rang the same number to find it was a genuine number but nothing whatsoever to do with Visa so the scammers are now cloning local numbers so be aware!

Caroline says:
19 August 2021

Just had call from 07884353329 saying a payment of £900 was requested from my visa. Automated call. Hung up straight away.

I keep getting calls from someone I can only assume is pretending to be Carphone warehouse, really strange ever since I downgraded my phone with EE the calls haven’t stopped (this was back in May!)