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bank scam

This week’s roundup includes news that a scheme set up to protect the elderly from fraud has already prevented £38m in scams, hotel booking sites are clamping down on ‘misleading’ sales tactics and President Trump has vowed to end China’s job ‘theft’.

Bank staff ‘saving elderly from scams'

An average of nearly £9,000 per case was prevented from being stolen from elderly bank customers owing to a rapid response scheme.

Bank staff have been trained to spot when customers appear to have been targeted by fraudsters. Staff can then prompt an immediate police response and last year this resulted in 231 arrests from 4,240 emergency calls.

Scams totalling an estimated £38m were prevented last year, according to trade body UK Finance.

However, Gareth Shaw, from consumer group Which? said that overall losses to transfer fraud continued to rise ‘as people fall victim to increasingly complex scams’.

Hotel booking sites to end ‘misleading’ sales

Hotel comparison and booking sites have been investigated over pressure selling and misleading discount claims, the competition watchdog says.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was concerned the sites were making rooms seem more popular than they were. An investigation was started in June 2018, but the CMA didn’t name which sites it was investigating.

Hotel comparison and booking sites will now say if commissions they receive affect grading results. They have also agreed to be clearer with discount claims and hidden charges.

‘The CMA has taken enforcement action to bring to an end misleading sales tactics, hidden charges and other practices in the online hotel booking market,’ said CMA Chairman Andrew Tyrie. ‘These have been wholly unacceptable.’

Trump vows to end China’s job ‘theft’

US President Donald Trump has vowed to end what he described as China's ‘theft’ of American jobs.

Giving his second State of the Union address, Mr Trump told the US Congress a trade deal with China would require ‘structural changes to end unfair trade practices’.

The speech comes ahead of last-minute talks between the two countries aimed at reaching a deal on trade. New tariffs could kick in on 1 March when a 90-day trade war truce ends.

The US and China are locked in a damaging trade spat that has seen both sides levy tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods. Negotiations are expected to resume this weekend.

UK economy ‘stalls’ on Brexit fears

The UK's service sector stagnated in January, with new orders falling for the first time in two-and-a-half years, according to the IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI).

The figures showed a reading of 50.1 in January, lower than December's 51.2. Economists had expected a reading of 51 - a figure above 50 indicates growth.

IHS Markit's Chris Williamson said the results indicated that the UK economy ‘is at risk of stalling or worse’.

He attributed this to growing Brexit uncertainty coinciding with a wider slowdown in the global economy.