Money blog: 'Do not eat them' - Tesco urgently recalls chocolate bars over nut risk (2024)

Money news
  • Tesco urgently recalls chocolate bars over peanut risk
  • PrettyLittleThing begins charging customer for returns
  • The most common holiday booking scams - and red flags to watch out for
  • EU elections and US jobs data knock global markets
  • Money Problem: 'I bought a heat pump dryer that takes nine hours to dry a small load but Candy and AO say there's no fault - what can I do?'
Essential reads
  • How long do trailers last at each cinema chain - and when to get there
  • Consider swapping chicken breasts out of your shopping basket
  • How brands get you to buy more, more, more
  • How much are student loans and when do you start paying back?
  • Best of the Money blog - an archive

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Fraudsters using bogus X accounts to impersonate 'every major airline'

Scammers pretending to be major airlines are using social media to try to commit identify fraud, according to new analysis.

Consumer champion Which? says fraudsters are using the X social media platform to trick people into giving away personal information by responding to messages sent to official airline accounts.

One of the group's researchers posted a message to Wizz Air asking if a flight was delayed and received replies from two bogus accounts "almost immediately".

"Both used near-identical language, apologising for the inconvenience, stating that they had 'already escalated this matter to the relevant department' and requesting a 'reachable WhatsApp number for assistance' via DM (direct message)," Which? said.

It added that there are fake X accounts "impersonating every major airline" including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.

X, which is owned by billionaire Elon Musk, has been contacted for comment.

According to Which?, users have struggled with reporting fake accounts to the website, with many still live despite being flagged as bogus.

Customers can make sure they're dealing with a real account by checking the link on the airline's official website, when it joined X and its number of followers, it said.

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: "Unscrupulous fraudsters are shamelessly trying to trick airline customers seeking urgent customer service advice via X for stressful situations, such as delayed flights and lost luggage.

"There is an epidemic of fraud gripping the UK and that's why Which? wants the next government to appoint a dedicated fraud minister and make fighting fraud a national priority."

Ms Concha also said X and Ofcom "should not shy away" from taking "strong enforcement action" against social media platforms that break the law.


UK suffers biggest rise in unemployment of any OECD country

The UK has seen the biggest rise in unemployment of any OECD country since the start of the year, according to figures.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) found that unemployment levels increased by 178,000 across England betweenOctober-December 2023 and January-March 2024.

The North West had the biggest increase in unemployment (47,000) followed by the West Midlands (38,000) and London (37,000).

The TUC said the rise in unemployment in 2024 had coincided with a slump in job vacancies and real wages were still worth less than in 2008.

It also found that of the 38 OECD countries, only Costa Rica had suffered a similar rise in unemployment.

The OECD is a club of the 38 richest countries in the world.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said the "country was crying out for change".

"In every single English region, people's job prospects have been deteriorating - with the unemployment rate rising and vacancies falling," he said.

"The Conservatives are failing working people. Joblessness and economic inactivity are up.

"Over four million people are trapped in insecure work and real wages are still worth less than in 2008. Our country is crying out for change."


'Are they fur real?' Cats advertise living room in London for £1,000 a month

Renting in London can be tough.

And now things seem to have got worse.

A listing on SpareRoom has gone viral after it was advertised by "a couple of Siamese cats".

The ground-floor living room in Kensal Rise, northwest London, comes with a single bed, a couch that can open into a double bed and a desk.

There is also access to a shared kitchen, bathroom and garden.

"We are a couple of Siamese cats that live in a large one bedroom ground floor flat with a private garden on a quiet street in a great location with great access," the listing reads.

"We live with a lovely couple of humans who take care of us, they think the place is theirs, but it's ours. The female human is not around much so it's just us and the male. He's usually in the kitchen and dining room area.

"Aside from watering the plants he never goes into the living room, so we thought we'd rent it outon a private room-only basis."

The room is available until the end of August and prospective renters need a £500 deposit.

Social media users didn't hold back, with one person calling the capital's rental scene "the Wild West"...


More than £366bn sitting in accounts earning 1% or less

More than £366bn is sitting in UK current and savings accounts earning returns of 1% interest or less, according to new research.

The analysis by Yorkshire Building Society and data consultancy CACI shows there are still nearly 13 million current accounts held in the UK with balances above £5,001.

The figure is slightly down on the £380bn held in accounts paying 1% interest or less in January but means there is still more than £366bn sat in low-paying accounts.

In addition, 17% of people admit to having never checked what rate of interest they are earning on their savings, according to an Opinium survey for Yorkshire Building Society.

And 36% admit they keep their savings in their current account.

Chris Irwin, director of savings at Yorkshire Building Society, said it was "surprising" that there were such "large pockets of people who are significantly missing out on savings interest".

"It's encouraging to see that for a small number of people they have made moves to improve the situation," he said,

"However, there is still an incredible amount of money not earning returns like they could be."

Every Thursday we team up withSavings Champion founder Anna Bowes,who shares her insights into the savings market and how to make the most of your money.

Last week she suggested now really is the time to move your money if you have cash languishing, earning less than inflation.

This is especially the case, she said, if you can lock some away with a fixed rate, as a base rate cut will happen at some stage, we just don't know when.

Click below to see which type of accounts she recommended - and she'll be back again this Thursday...


Deadline today to microchip your pet cat or face £500 fine

Millions of cat owners in England face a fine of up to £500 if they fail to get their cat microchipped and registered on a database under new laws coming into force from today.

The legislation applies to cats aged 20 weeks and older - but of the estimated nine million pet cats in the country, up to 2.2 million are still not chipped, according to data from the charity Cats Protection.

It costs between £20 and £30 to have a cat microchipped by a vet, the charity said.

Owners found not to have microchipped their pet will have 21 days to have one implanted or face the financial penalty.

You can read more here...


Tesco urgently recalls chocolate bars over peanut risk

Tesco has urgently recalled two chocolate bars because they could contain undeclared peanuts.

The supermarket chain's Nutty Nougat Caramel Chocolate Bars Multipack and Dreamy Caramel Chocolate Bars Multipack are being taken off shelves over "possible health risk for anyone with an allergy to peanuts".

The products aresold in packs of six for £1.15.

"If you have bought the above products do not eat them," the UK's Food Standards Agency said.

"Instead, return them to any Tesco store for a full refund."

A Tesco spokesperson told Sky News: "Due to a mispack, there is a risk of peanuts not being declared as an ingredient in the product.

"This poses a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy to peanuts."



PrettyLittleThing is latest clothes brand to charge customers for returns

PrettyLittleThing has become the latest retailer to introduce returns fees.

The fashion brand, which is owned by Boohoo, started charging all customers £1.99 for returns from 3 June.

Customers who are PLT Royalty members, which costs £9.99 a year, will also have to pay the charge.

The retailer joins other brands such as Zara, which started charging £1.95 for postal returns in 2022, and Boohoo, which introduced a £1.99 fee in July 2022, in introducing a returns cost.

Next also introduced a £2.50 charge for courier returns last year.

PrettyLittleThing declined to comment but confirmed charges had been introduced.


EU elections and US jobs data knock global markets

By James Sillars, business reporter

Two major themes for financial markets to focus on today: the results of the EU parliamentary elections and hiring in the United States.

Both are knocking stock markets globally this morning, with the FTSE 100 opening sharply down along with its European counterparts.

If we look at all this chronologically, the much-stronger-than-expected US employment numbers released on Friday afternoon have put a lid on talk of interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve central bank.

Global investors are crying out for cheaper borrowing costs and that now seems a distant prospect, with some market watchers even predicting it will be 2025 before the Fed can act.

The dollar also strengthened when it emerged there were 272,000 net new jobs created in the world's biggest economy last month. A figure around 175,000 had been predicted.

The fear here for the Fed is that strong employment and wage growth will push up US inflation.

The FTSE opened 0.6% lower at 8,195 after Friday's decline of almost 0.5%.

The DAX in Germany and French CAC were down 0.7% and 1.9% respectively.

The opening performances reflected Emmanuel Macron calling French parliamentary elections after his party was trounced in the EU vote by Marine Le Pen's far-right group.

Wider results also showed big gains for far-right parties in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

The euro hit a near two-year low versus the pound in Asia dealing and also lost further ground against the dollar.

It's good news if you have a holiday booked in the euro area, as your pound will go further when converted to the single currency.


These are the most common holiday booking scams - and the red flags to watch out for

By Emily Mee, Money team

You've been looking forward to your trip for months, but as you're waiting at the airport you discover - to much frustration - that your flight has been cancelled.

Damn! Better go on to social media to tweet the company - you're hoping it might get their attention quicker than waiting on hold for an agent or in a long queue at the airport with hundreds of other passengers.

Within a short while, you have a reply - finally some good news! The airline asks you to DM them, and after some back and forth they're willing to book you on to another flight. They'll need your payment details again, though.

Little did you realise, this was a tricky-to-spot scam. In your weariness you hadn't realised you were talking to a fake social media profile posing as your chosen airline.

This is one common holiday booking scam that has been tricking people out of their cash online.

In a report this year, Lloyds revealed holiday purchase scams have risen by 7% over the past year, with nearly half starting on Facebook.

The scams to watch out for

  • Clone websites - these can appear for airlines, holidays, villas and more. Although you may think you're on a legitimate site, you may not have spotted the URL has been changed. You may even get fake confirmation emails or booking references.
  • Social media promotions - similar to the clone websites, these can often impersonate airlines or hotels, or they may advertise accommodation that doesn't exist.
  • Fake activities - when travellers end up paying for activities from fraudulent operators and the tour or activity does not exist.
  • Phishing emails - these can appear to come from a legitimate provider and will often ask travellers to confirm their personal and payment details.
  • Fake social media messages (as we mentioned above) - after passengers reach out for help on social media, scammers might reply posing as the airline or tour operator.
  • Service fees for documents - a long-running scam sees copycat websites pop up where a fee is charged to process or renew a document or health insurance card.
  • Airport parking - some scammers will claim to have a "safe place" for your car but that might not be the case, with some drivers returning to find their cars filthy, damaged or with added mileage.
  • Counterfeit Atol numbers - while the Atol sign should mean your holiday is protected, scammers can use counterfeit numbers on fake web pages.

How can you avoid getting scammed?

Consumer champion Jane Hawkes, also known as Lady Janey, says it's important to do your research in the first place.

If the website claims to be part of any official travel body, check this for yourself.

For example, you can check if a company is truly Atol protected here.

Read reviews for the company too - although be aware that some may have fake reviews (these aren't easy to spot, but you should check for things like whether lots of reviews were posted at the same time, if lots of the reviews go over-the-top, and if many use the same phrasing).

You can also do a Google Maps search for the property being advertised.

Check contact details are readily available on websites and that there is a telephone number.

"Many scam sites purposely don't have one," Jane explains.

"If you can't get hold of a company for general enquiries, it'll be a whole lot more difficult if something goes wrong."

Jane also says you should check for red flags such as poor spelling and grammar in adverts, limited-time offers, and the pressure to make decisions on the spot.

She recommends keeping all communication on the official platform, for example, when booking through Airbnb.

"Scammers will try to lure you away in order to gain your personal and banking details. Steer away from any personal correspondence via email, WhatsApp or text," she says.

When it comes to booking, Jane says to never action a bank transferor provide your bank details in response to an advert.

She suggests using a credit card if the offer is legitimate - this means you'll benefit from extra cover if anything goes wrong.

Don't agree to PayPal transfers, especially if the transfer is made as "PayPal Friends and Family" as this reduces the protection PayPal can offer.

For the highest level of consumer protection, Jane recommends booking a package holiday with a trusted travel agent.

If you have been the victim of a scam then you should report it to the Financial Conduct Authority, Trading Standards, Police Action Fraud or Citizens Advice Scam Action as appropriate.

Money blog: 'Do not eat them' - Tesco urgently recalls chocolate bars over nut risk (2024)


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