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This week’s roundup includes news of people in the over-55 age bracket failing to report investment scams, a drop in earnings for the first time in three years, a decline in the number of people switching current accounts and credit card interest rates reaching a 10-year high.

Over-55s ‘failing to report investment scams’ 

More than a fifth of over-55s who have been approached by investment fraudsters have failed to report the crime to authorities, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned. 

According to a survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the body, 22% of those who had been approached by scammers had failed to report it, with the most common reason given that they did not know who to report it to. 

Among the group of over-55s surveyed, only 63% said they would tell the authorities if they thought they had been the target of a scam, whereas 81% said they would report fly tipping. 

The FCA has urged the public to speak up if they are contacted by people offering fraudulent investments. Over-55s were highlighted by the FCA as a prime target for investment fraud. 

Mark Steward, Director of Enforcement at the FCA, said: “By reporting suspicious investment schemes to the FCA people are having a direct impact in helping to stop fraudsters exploiting others.”

Earnings fall for first time in three years 

Wages declined in real terms by 0.4% in the year to April 2017. This is according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which said the figures represented the first fall in three years. 

The ONS said that while wages increased by 2.2% during the 12-month period, inflation rose by more, which reduced the impact of any gains. The median amount earned was £550 a week. 

According to the ONS data, the weekly income figure was the first recorded fall since April 2014, following a rise in inflation after the Brexit vote in June last year. 

Earnings, not adjusted for inflation, increased in 2017 by more among the lowest-paid workers. For those in the lowest 10%, full-time earnings rose by 3.5% compared with 2016. 

Full-time workers in London are paid the most in the country, with a weekly wage of £692, whereas Wales, the North East of England, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East Midlands all get paid an average of £500 per week. 

Current account switching ‘hits new low’ 

The number of people in the UK who switch their current account to another provider has fallen to a new low. This is according to industry figures from the Competition and Markets Authority, which revealed just 57,779 individuals used the seven-day switching service to move accounts in September, the lowest number since the scheme was launched four years ago. 

Declines in uptake of the service came in spite of an advertising campaign during September, which was designed to raise awareness. Adverts were placed on TV, radio, in national newspapers and online. 

The number of people switching in September was half the number it was in March last year, when 120,774 moved accounts. 

A reluctance to move also comes in spite of the potential savings that switching accounts could bring, along with financial incentives being offered by the banks. For instance, the Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks are currently offering account holders £250 for loyal customers. 

Credit card interest rates ‘hit 10-year high’ 

Interest rates on credit cards have reached the highest for the past ten years, despite low base rates. This is according to website Moneyfacts, which found the average rates on credit cards - including store cards and “credit repair” cards - has reached 23% a year. 

Consumers have been warned of the dangers of relying on interest-free introductory periods, as eventually they may have to pay the full advertised rate. 

Among the most expensive cards is HSBC’s, which charges 29.9% in a year. By contrast, Lloyds Bank charges 5.7% and Tesco 5.9%. 

Rachel Springall, Finance Expert at Moneyfacts, said: “While there has been a huge injection of introductory interest-free offers into the market over the last few years, which can help spread the cost of purchases, this has not stopped a surge in credit card interest.” 

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