/ 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?

Brian Perry says:
9 January 2020

Have had 3 automated phone calls today 9/1/20 from Visa Secure saying £600 had tried to be been taken from my account and to press 1 to find out all from 3 different numbers – one of them was my own local area code.

Gary says:
10 January 2020

I just had an automated message telling me £600 had been spent in a suspicious transaction abroad. I pressed one and got through to a well spoken gentleman with an Indian accent.
I decided to play along, and after giving him some false information which he asked for such as which bank I use, he told me to hang up and call my bank. Of course, he keep the line open so I ended up speaking to just another scammer pretending to be my Banks fraud department.
He told me to access my online banking, whilst also giving him access to my computer. Needless to say, I ended the call.

Janet Page says:
11 January 2020

I have today had 6 calls saying the are from Amazon and I would be having £339 taken out of my bank account today .press 1 to speak to an adviser. I blocked all the numbers and still the calls keep coming . It’s an American woman’s voice.

Caroline says:
13 January 2020

Just had a call from Mastercard Visa (errr, they are two separate entities) £600 has been spent in a foreign transaction. I hung up.

Ziya says:
15 January 2020

Also received an automated message today saying they were from Visa press 1 or 3 usual £300 was used, etc. However I would not advice people to press 1 or 3 as these maybe premium numbers and you may not fall for the scam but get a huge phone bill for your troubles.

Brenda Sedgwick says:
Today 09:50

At 09.22h this morning I answered an automated call in which the female voice said that they were from Visa and wanted authorisation of a recent transaction for £500+ by pressing ‘1’. I put the phone down. A check using 1471 gave the calling number as 01984 528394 which is the code for Watchet (Somerset). A web search brought up a number of reports of similar calls on 15/01/2020.