/ 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?

Linda says:
31 October 2019

Received these automated calls saying a debit of £600 had been made “in the last 15 minutes” from at least two different numbers:
First one that came in I put the phone down and checked online to see nothing had actually happened, now I just put the phone down.
The trouble with Action Fraud is that it doesn’t seem possible to report online unless you have actually been a victim, rather than just passing on information.

[This comment has been edited to remove personal details: please report all scam/nuisance calls to: https://www.which.co.uk/tools/report-a-call-or-text/?utm_source=campaignssite&utm_medium=referal&utm_campaign=nuisance%5D

LInda-this is a ploy to cut down the registration of the full extent of this “communications scam crisis ” by the government when questions are asked in Parliament.
Quite the contrary in the USA several government websites provide direct contact with the American public with their government like the USA- FCA –
and the FTC –
Notice in all cases you are dealing with the USA government
The main USA GOV website gives you a long list of links (all safe ) to many government complaint departments , its embarrassing how seriously the USA looks after its people compared to this country-

Which UK government departments do not have a publicly accessible phone line or contact facility? I agree this should be exposed and corrective action taken as a matter of urgency.

Of course, most UK national government direct services are undertaken by agencies or independent organisations that have their own ‘contact us’ facilities so there is no need to speak to someone in a government department. The theory is that this makes it easier for citizens to discuss their case or issue and speak to a person with direct knowledge and responsibility. It has always worked for me, and the same with delegated or devolved functions handled by local authorities or special organisations like the NHS or regional transport authorities. But if there are problem areas where it is difficult or impossible to deal with civil servants or their agency equivalents it needs to be identified and dealt with. After all, communications with the national government should be much easier to organise in the UK where there is only one time zone and a much more compact geography with most services concentrated in a handful of big cities.

In terms of reporting frauds and scams, in the UK this is dealt with by police forces and county [or metropolitan or London borough] trading standards services. Admittedly the access to trading standards is via Citizens Advice but our local TS issues an enormous amount of information on all sorts of scams that are, or have recently been, active in different areas – I get regular updates from the county council. Norfolk Trading Standards are collecting all this information from members of the public so the contact facility must be working.

Ann Hydlop says:
7 November 2019

I have had 2 calls yesterday and today from 2 different numbers 01430 771131 and 01292 859378 both automated saying £600 has been sent to a foreign country from my master OR Visa card and asking me to press button 1 which I didn’t . Obviously still the same scam described by previous people 😡

I have had one call today from 01657 505007. Same scam, £600 spent on MasterCard in a foreign country, press 1 if we want to stop it. We called the bank and they knew nothing about it.

hi just had an automated call saying £600 transaction made to a foreign country from my account and to press 1 now.
I hung up.
Number was 01712442604.
Be careful peeps

Peter says:
8 November 2019

I have had the same £600 call at least three times this week, all from different numbers. I know it is fake because I don’t have a Mastercard.

Sherry says:
8 November 2019

the other thing to be aware of is that there may be another half to the scam, pressing 1 may connect you to a premium call centre filled with scammers who are now charging you £300 per minute to try to solve a non-existent problem!!! and they will try to steal your bank details too I would bet….we gotta stay alert to this kind of nonsense

Sherry says:
8 November 2019

Have had this sort of call last week as I was getting ready for work. ( I think they thought I would be distracted and not paying close attention) So he didn’t ask for a name, hubby and I have separate accounts and separate cards (first clue it wasn’t my bank or VISA), told me he was from VISA/Mastercard like they were the same company (second clue as I am aware they are NOT the same), then told me there had been a charge of £299 on my card (not that much money in that account so would never go through anyway (weekly I move what I need to from savings) , then I asked him THE question: which bank the card had been issued by?? he said Barclays, which was the wrong guess!! I told him I thought he was a ‘lying s**t!!!’ and he hung up. then from another phone blocked the call from coming through again….have had other automated versions of this call. Keep aware and alert but keep cool in the situation, they play on trying to get your adrenalin going so you react without thinking!!!

Giles Fitzherbert says:
11 November 2019

We have received 2 automated calls now. After the 2nd I googled it and found this fraud report 🙂

Fiona Kerr says:
12 November 2019

I received one of these automated calls yesterday morning at 8.20am. I thought it was strange when they said the charge of £600 was to Mastercard or Visa to a foreign country and hung up when they asked me to press 1 to cancel the transaction. I double checked the bank and all was fine.