Updated: 10:45 EST

WhatsApp scam sees crooks pose as children to target parents for cash

Santander reported a 532% surge in 'mum and dad' or 'friend in need' scams - where fraudsters impersonate their victims' loved ones - between August and November last year. Ex-headmistress Elizabeth Baker (pictured, left, with partner Hugh) - came close to losing more than £500 after a scammer pretended to be her daughter. Meanwhile a conman tricked the father of Cally Beaton (pictured, right) out of £1,800.

Sainsbury's boss Simon Roberts hailed the supermarket's 'biggest ever' New Year, as it joined Tesco and M&S in hiking its profit expectations.

DIY traders line up to copy this scientist's portfolio on eToro

Oxford-based scientist Heloïse Greeff is one of the investors who have embraced a lucrative opportunity on offer from the Covid-19 DIY investing boom. More than 21,000 home traders with a combined total of more than $5million in assets have opted to copy her portfolio since 2019.

Happy tenants often make for a happy landlord and this checklist of legal obligations and best practice can help rentals be a success.

First-time buyers and families stretching their budgets to upsize are likely to be hit as banks rein back on the size of loans they are willing to hand out.





BUSINESS LIVE: Inflation hits 5.4%; Omicron hurts Wetherspoon revenues

UK inflation hit 5.4 per cent in December, with consumer prices now rising at their fastest rate since March 1992, fresh data from the Office for National Statistics shows. Pub group JD Wetherspoon is set to record a loss for the first half of the fiscal year after the Omicron coronavirus variant led to renewed curbs and kept people from heading out during the festive season.

Shell was up 1.5%, or 28.4p, at 1873.8p while BP rose 0.5%, or 2p, to 395.75p - their highest levels since February 2020.

While spending at the retailer's travel division in November bounced back to 94 per cent of its pre-pandemic volumes, the following month saw it decline to 83 per cent of 2019 levels.

In addition, the organisation is seeking to put stronger controls on advertisements promoting more precarious investments with more clear and informative risk warnings.

Pearson said full-year adjusted operating profit was now expected to come in at £385million, with organic revenue growth of 8 per cent, compared with predictions of £375million.

Los Angeles-born Fink, 69, has been pushing the financial sector to place more emphasis on environmental, social and governance issues when making decisions on where to put their money.

The British-based retailer reported third quarter revenue of £723million, up by five per cent compared to same period last year. Store sales slipped 3 per cent over the period.

Wetherspoon claimed that had pubs been open, then the alleged parties would have taken place in more Covid secure venues with CCTV and readily available evidence.

Why Terry Smith chooses quality over cheap value shares for Fundsmith

Terry Smith fired a broadside at the watchdog's required risk warning in the latest letter to his Fundsmith shareholders. Smith was writing specifically about the merits of backing quality companies over cheap low quality firms, as he outlined his investment strategy. Fundsmith is the poster child for quality investing among UK funds, as Scottish Mortgage is for growth and both have been hugely successful. The question now being asked of both, however, is whether the sparkling returns over the past decade or so can continue?

Rishi Sunak said that while cryptoassets could offer people an alternative means of investing, 'it's important that customers are not being sold products with misleading claims.'

Designer Sophie Robinson paints a room black on Dream Home Makeovers 

Interior designer Sophie Robinson's new TV show Dream Home Makeover starts on Channel 5 tonight at 7pm. We spoke to Sophie about the first episode of her new show, including painting the walls and ceilings a room black to make it more homely. Sophie told MailOnline Property: 'I've never painted a room all black before and so I was interested to see the result. I have a reputation for being the queen of colour with a very bright colour palette. But what I wanted to do with this programme was not just come in and do my thing. I wanted to react to the homeowners and their personal tastes and spaces.'

How to get your finances sorted at 40: This is Money podcast

Turning 40 is a milestone birthday - and perhaps the one that gets people thinking most about where they are at in life. But what do you need to think about in terms of your finances, from pensions, to property, investing and saving? This special birthday podcast looks at people's financial life around 40 - and includes plenty of tips relevant to those who are much younger or older. Plus we look back at what economic life was like 40 years ago.



How do I cash in Premium Bonds from overseas?

My grandson, 19, was bought £10,000 worth of Premium Bonds when he was a child, and until 2018 any prizes were reinvested automatically. He has £325 worth of prizes to claim, but doesn't live in the UK or have a UK current account. How can he cash them in?

The e-scooter is powered by a 700-watt electric motor, with power drawn from a 36-volt battery that allows for a range of around 22 miles.

When the pandemic struck, most forecasters expected dole queues to lengthen. Instead, there has been something of a jobs miracle

Should olders savers receive automatic appointments with Pension Wise?

Too many people are confused by pensions and at risk of scams, and need more help in the run-up to retirement, according to MPs. They call on the Government to 'end their timidity' and trial automatic appointments with free guidance service Pension Wise, claiming current plans to 'nudge' people into it will not be enough. MPs also suggest investigating the 'decoupling' of the 25% tax-free lump sum from the rest of a pension pot - potentially allowing people take that cash and leave the other 75% in their work schemes for longer.

Should I pay to fill gaps in my state pension record?

I've been on the Government gateway site for a few years now, to check my state pension. I have a few years that say 'you didn't pay enough National Insurance this year, we are checking to see if this year will qualify' but this message never changes. Why? And will they check? Our agony uncle Steve Webb explains when it might be worth filling gaps in your National Insurance record.

Ford unveils its new Mondeo but it will only be sold in CHINA

Ford has taken the covers off the new Mondeo at its China Design Centre in Shanghai on Monday. Mondeo has been sold in China since 2002, almost a decade after it hit UK showrooms and five years after it was famously used as a campaign tool by Tony Blair and New Labour to secure swing voters in its landslide victory to take power in 1997. Bosses describe the next-generation car as a 'sporty coupe-style sedan brimming with technology and showcasing Ford's bold new design language for China'. The new model comes as the manufacturer prepares to kill-off the long-running saloon from UK and European showrooms from March.

Microsoft buys Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard in £50bn deal

The deal will see US tech giant Microsoft become the world's third-largest computer games firm behind Sony of Japan and Tencent of China. The swoop will trigger a hefty windfall for Activision's long-serving chief executive Bobby Kotick, who stands to make around £200m for his stake.

The Wall Street giant's 43,900 staff were handed a total of £13bn, up 33% on 2020. That equated to an average of £296,000 each.

The Gibraltar-based group saw its revenue surge by 14 per cent to $972million last year, with around three-quarters of takings deriving from its regulated and taxed markets.

The tower - designed by British architect Richard Rogers is known as the 'inside-out' building because its lifts and pipework are on the outside.

The group saw a further £3bn wiped off its value, as shares fell 4% to 3516.5p, bringing the total drop since its plans emerged to £10bn.

The Hut Group warns on profit margins as shares slide

THG has said its 2021 profit margins will fall short of analyst forecasts, but look set to recover this year. The e-commerce group, previously known as The Hut Group, saw its share price fall over 7 per cent to 171.20p this morning, and the company's shares have fallen by over 75 per cent in the past year. Profit margins for 2021 are now expected to come in at between 7.4 per cent to 7.9 per cent, against previous estimates of around 7.9 per cent.

Credit Suisse said Horta-Osorio (pictured), who lasted just nine months in the job, was stepping down as his position had become untenable.

The Business Secretary will be handed a report today that outlines whether the controversial £2.6bn deal will threaten national security.

Rightmove: Housing market off to record start in 2022

Rightmove recorded a surge in sellers looking to come to market at the start of the new year, which could mean more supply and less frenzied competition for buyers. Data from the property website showed January kicked off with a 44 per cent jump in valuation requests from the same time last year. It also showed a 15 per cent increase from last year in the number of buyers inquiring about homes. Prices have soared throughout the pandemic and the continuing shortage of available properties has pushed prices even higher. Estate agents on average have only 12 homes to sell, a record low, according to Rightmove.

To highlight how difficult it would be to buy a home, we looked at family properties in London for someone with a 10% deposit borrowing 4.5 times the median salary.

Is there any stamp duty exemption when buying a property that will be your main residence? If not, will we need to sell our current property before we buy the new one?

The stocks set to keep on rising - even
when inflation hits

Many of the companies that we invest in are facing price squeezes, thanks to ballooning raw material costs, expensive supply chains and rising wages. This affects their bottom line - and ultimately the value of your investment portfolio. But some companies are better able to deal with inflation than others because they are able to pass on rising costs to their customers. They may offer a product or service that customers will pay for even if prices increase, or have inflation-linked increases built into their contracts. Here are stocks, and four funds, that investment experts think could thrive despite rising inflation.

Safest new cars REVEALED: Five models that aced crash tests

Want to know which of the latest cars to hit the market will offer the best protection to you and your family? UK safety and security experts Thatcham Research has revealed which models demonstrated impressive safety credentials when being slammed into walls and poles during rigorous crash test assessments in the last 12 months - with the five standout models it selected are all in the running to win the 2022 What Car? Safety Award, which will be announced later this week. And while this handful of motors represents the cream of the crop when it comes to protecting occupants and other road users, This is Money will also tell you which three new cars scored the lowest ratings when been scrutinised by safety experts. We list the reasons why each model impressed (or failed to impress) across various judging criteria in 2021, including how well they performed in Euro NCAP's crash tests.

Motorists face hiked fines if found to have blocked yellow box junctions, broken parking rules, performed illegal turns and driving in bus lanes on designated red routes.

Smart meters called a 'waste of money' as they will become 'obsolete' by 2030s

Smart meters currently rely on outgoing 2G and 3G mobile signals to operate. But mobile operators plan to pull the plug on them. When they are turned off, the meters will become 'dumb' and be no better than the traditional devices they replaced. Smart meters cannot handle 4G or 5G communication technology. The only remedy will be the installation of new smart meters or replacing a part of existing ones - at huge extra cost. Alex Henney, a former Government adviser who worked with Secretary of State for Energy, Cecil Parkinson, in the late 1980s on energy privatisation, described the meters as 'obsolete equipment at a ludicrously high cost'.

Customers are being hit by inflation-busting 20 per cent-plus premium hikes. Tom Desmier's (pictured) original renewal for his Mazda was 33 per cent higher.

Nearly half of 16-to-24 year-olds in Britain used BNPL services last year to help spread the cost of expensive fashion items and snazzy tech gear, new research suggests.

David Buik looks back on his six decades in the City

David Buik, a veteran of the City, is retiring after almost 60 years working in Britain's financial industry. He looks back on his working life and how things have changed since he took his first job in 1962, when dress and haircuts were very conventional and you addressed people older than you as 'Sir' or 'Mrs.'

The 10 most expensive cars sold at auction in 2021

The pandemic has done very little to quell the demand for classic cars in the last couple of year, with auction sales continuing to hit record levels despite the global impact of Covid-19 on economies and wealth. The emergence of new dedicated sites for a raft of collectible models, such as Collecting Cars and The Market, means petrol heads have increased opportunity to buy and sell vehicles of all generations and value, while data show that appetite remains high at the premium end of the market where motors sell for millions. We asked classic car insurer and value tracker, Hagerty, to tell us which were the priciest of last year. Here, we exclusively list the 10 cars that went under the hammer across the globe in 2021 and sold for the highest figures...

TONY HETHERINGTON: £2,000 vanished because of wrong sort code

I sent £2,000 from my Lloyds account to an account at the Royal Bank of Scotland, but I mistyped one digit of the RBS sort code. I realised this the next day and informed Lloyds, and after I contacted the Ombudsman, Lloyds tried to recover my money. However, RBS responded months later, saying the RBS account had been closed since 2015 so it had returned the money to Lloyds. Despite this, Lloyds says my money is still with RBS. We need this money badly.

Best stocks & shares Isas: Pick the right DIY investment platform

Choosing the right DIY platform is crucial but a wealth of choice and a variety of charges can leave investors scratching their heads. We pick some of the best. We pick some of the best. We also highlight why investing in an Isa makes sense, as it should protect your hopefully growing investments from tax forever.

We pick our five favourite cash Isas for savers. This is essential Isa reading and is kept up-to-date throughout the year

Following months of historic lows, mortgage rates are starting to edge up for many borrowers following a rise in the Bank of England's base rate.

If you are interested in buying shares or know more about unearthing good companies and valuing them, read our guide to share investing.

Buy-to-let lost some of its spark in recent years but that might be about to change as new tax cuts and low mortgage rates have caused landlords to flock back to the market.

Premium Bonds Winners

Prize Area Value of bond
£1,000,000 Hertfordshire £12,000
£1,000,000 Lancashire £5,000
£100,000 Northamptonshire £1,250
£100,000 Surrey £2,000
£100,000 London £5,000
£100,000 West Midlands £450
£100,000 Leeds £5,000
£100,000 Cambridgeshire £40,000
More January 2022 winners
View list of January 2022 winners


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