"I was a potential victim of a TV licence email scam": Moneywise readers best comments and letters in March 2019

15 March 2019

Each month we publish the best comments, emails and letters from our readers the star of which will win a £50 M&S giftcard. Here are the best of March 2019

TV licence scam near-miss

I was a potential victim of the TV licence email scam (Moneywise, February issue)  and know several people who have also been affected. The email’s wording and detail were very accurate, and it is only when I checked my TV licence expiry date that I realised it was a scam. 

I had already filled in my details when I realised there was something wrong. I immediately contacted my bank and was just in time. My card was replaced, and the password changed. Please tell your readers this scam is rife.

MB/via email

Moneywise says: MB is right, this scam is particularly sophisticated. Scammers send emails to their victims pretending to be from TV Licensing and asking for personal and financial information. TV Licensing says it will never contact you out of the blue to ask for bank account details or other financial information. Like MB, always check your documents. 

New laws to prosecute financial abusers

In principle, I think it is a fabulous idea to help protect those facing financial abuse (Moneywise, February issue). I do, however, worry about a grey area. For example, my husband is a gambling addict, so I control the household finances. If I didn’t, there would be no household! But as such, I could be at risk of allegations of financial abuse.

SG/via comments

Lloyds offers 2.5% interest on savings to Bank of Mum and Dad

Great idea from Lloyds Bank and a win-win for everyone while the housing market is crying out for a boost. Parents or grandparents switching up to £50,000 from Premium Bonds, paying around 1.4% on average, to a 2.5% a year, three-year fixed-interest account will also see a material benefit – and the money is safe as houses.

Not quite as efficient as gifting the money outright, though. If you have it and don’t need it, then give it.

MT/via comments

The joy of being mortgage-free

Two readers tell us how it feels to have paid off their mortgage:

I had to move house when my disabled son was three years old and my daughter was one. I took out a 25-year mortgage in 2010. When my two-year mortgage deal was about to end in 2012, I took out a five-year fixed rate. I was lucky that this mortgage allowed me overpayments of up to £500, so I had a go at paying off it off early.

At the start of 2016, I owed around £25,000, so I made sure that I would owe around £10,000 by the start of 2017. Then I took out a regular saver account and used all the £3,500 I saved to completely pay off my mortgage in June 2017. Now I don’t have mortgage payments, I can treat my children to wonderful times. We’ve been on holiday to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. We even went on safari in India.

MC/via comments

My wife and I also cleared our mortgage early, while in our 50s, despite the much higher interest rates prevailing at the time – up to 15% at their peak. When interest rates went up, we all had to grit our teeth, tighten belts and increase the monthly payments. However, when` interest rates fell, we maintained the same payment level, providing us with a cushion for any tougher times. It paid off, knocking several years off the repayment term and saving thousands in interest. It enabled us both to retire a few years earlier than expected. Having a repayment mortgage (rather than an endowment) gave the flexibility to overpay our mortgage, reducing the capital and the mortgage term. Freedom from a mortgage feels great.

AQ/via comments