Savings account scams warning as fraudsters clone bank websites – how to spot red flags | Personal Finances | Finance
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released today show that the UK inflation rate more than doubled in one month through April 2021. The latest consumer price index (CPI ) British fell from 0.7% in March of this year to 1.5% in the following month.
It’s still within the long-term target rate of two percent, but the latest data shows inflation is accelerating.
With the Bank of England base rate held at an all-time high of 0.1%, the latest figures are still bad news for savers.
Due to the 0.8% rise, there are currently no savings accounts beating the current inflation rate, despite some improvement in fixed bonds since the last inflation, according to the latest analysis from Moneyfacts.co .uk.
Amid this news, a scam warning has been issued to savers who wish to try to protect themselves against a loss of purchasing power.
Kevin Mountford, co-founder of savings provider Raisin UK, said: “Interest rates in the UK are at an all time low, even the most competitive fixed interest rates on savings accounts. lying well below 2% AER.
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While there are fixed rate options, Mr Mountford suggested, “Beware of anything above this rate or anything that promises significantly above average returns.”
Spelling or grammatical errors can signal a scam attempt.
“Watch out for poorly written text on the website or in other communications they send to you, including spelling or grammatical errors,” he said.
Broken links or missing information are also warning signs.
“Look for missing contact information, such as an email address or phone number, or links that don’t work, or take you to a blank page.”
Mr Mountford then discussed a new type of scam that has been reported – known as the Fixed Rate Bond Scam.
He sees criminals promoting popular savings accounts like fixed rate bonds and ISAs on fake or cloned websites in order to steal money and sensitive information from potential savers.
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“A fixed rate bond scam will be a new website promoting popular savings products – some that sound too good to be true,” he said.
“This website may appear legitimate and contain all of the information you would normally expect to see, including tips and incentives.
“It will look like something you would expect to see from a financial services company, even if you’ve never heard of the company name before.”
If this is something that a person is experiencing, there are a few steps to take.
“Take a look at the reviews of this business – but be careful that some reviews might be wrong as well. Usually a 3.5 out of five rating looks more legitimate than a business that has 5/5 stars in it. the whole, ”Mr. Mountford said. .
“Also, ask around if people have ever heard of this new business, word of mouth travels much faster, so if you find that a lot of people are part of a particular business, there is strong chances that it is safe.
“If any red flags catch your attention, dig deeper into the business.”
Some might stumble upon two of the same websites offering different financial services – so how can a person determine which one is the legitimate service?
“Fraudsters can often be found cloning or copying the website of an existing bank or financial company,” said Mr Mountford.
“They will use the company name in the URL and use the same logo, font and branding on the website, to allay your suspicions.
“As above, the scam company will be promoting fake prices and bogus products on the bogus site.”
Reporting the bogus website is really important, explained Mountford.
“The more complaints a reputable company receives that a clone website has been found, the more evidence it has to remove it from the Internet,” he said.
“Call the financial services company and ask what you see is legitimate.
“The business will know what its home page looks like, so clarifying what is being sold on the home page is a must.
“Also look for links to their social media channels and pages, if their page was recently created and the business has been around for a while this could be a red flag.”
Following the latest inflation rate in the UK, Moneyfacts said the number of savings operations able to beat inflation has declined since the announcement last month.
There were 90 in total beating 0.7%, but there is none today that beats 1.5%, the money comparison site said.
Rachel Springall, financial expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: “The current level of inflation will have a clear impact on savers because unless they already have their money stashed in a fixed rate account that can beat it, the purchasing power of their cash has been eroded in real terms.
“The inflation rate forecast for the second quarter of 2022 is expected to reach 2.3% and today the best five-year fixed rate bond pays just 1.40%. the rates are respectively 1.10% and 0.45%.
“This news may well overshadow the otherwise positive changes we’ve seen in some of the best fixed rate bonds and ISAs this month, but it’s critical that savers take the time to consider the new offerings on offer.
“Indeed, as savers debate what to do with their money, since the start of the month we have seen improvements from various challenger banks.
“On one year fixed rate bonds Atom Bank now pays 0.85%, Shawbrook Bank pays 0.75% and BLME pays 0.75% as expected rate of profit, Allica Bank pays 0.76% and each of those brands has increased those rates since early May. . “