TONY HETHERINGTON: National Grid Gas bonds are a lot of hot air


Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday’s chief investigator. He battles the reader’s corner, reveals the truth that lies behind closed doors, and wins victories for those left out of pocket. Below you can read how to contact him.

ML writes: I am sending you details of an investment that has been offered to me.

It appears to come from Credit Suisse, which offers National Grid Gas bonds with a yield of 8.75 percent.

Is this real, or is it a scam?

Tony Hetherington replies: Let’s get straight to the point: it’s a scam. The devious part is that these bands exist. They were issued many years ago and expire in 2025, so if you google them you will find that they are real. However, the only way to get your hands on them today is through the stock market where you would have to pay much more than face value, so you would get much less than 8.75 percent. The fraudsters who called you and then emailed you the details have dressed this up to look like a savings account.

Digging deep: the gas bonds were issued – but many years ago

They forged Credit Suisse’s letterhead and logo and told you that your investment is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. They even say, “You can make additional deposits into your new account throughout the period of your investment.”

In reality there is no account.

The crooks say they are located at 1 Cabot Square in London’s Canary Wharf. This is the address of the real Credit Suisse, but when I contacted it earlier this week, it was clear that the investment offer was not coming from the bank.

A spokesperson told me: ‘There has been an increase in recent years in consumers being targeted by fraudsters who exploit the brands of international banks, sometimes through the use of fake websites or by posing as employees.

“Credit Suisse plays an active role in protecting people who are targeted by fraudsters to avoid financial harm and to help preserve the integrity of financial markets.”

The bank is investigating and may take action to close down the fraudsters’ website. In fact, this scam is so new that the fraudsters have not even set up a proper website. They only use their web address for emails to potential victims. Their emails come from cs-asset – an address registered just two weeks ago, with fees paid for just one year of use, showing the crooks have no intention of staying.

Also, be careful not to be tricked into calling the crooks on the number they use: 0207 043 4509. This does not belong to the real Credit Suisse.

When I called to invite the impostors to comment, they were polite and friendly, right up to the point when they asked for my name. When I told them, the line went dead. I ask myself why.

National Grid was given details of the fraud involving the use of its name and bonds,

Letters from HMRC make no sense

DH writes: In March 2021 I applied to HM Revenue & Customs to transfer a portion of my wife’s unused tax credit to me for future and prior years. The IRS deferred this in the future, but said checks were needed for previous years.

In December 2021, the staff wrote that I had not filed a 2020 tax return. I reminded them that I had retired and my income was taxed at source. I was told to ignore the letter.

Since then I have had three letters, one saying I had no tax liability for 2018-19, one demanding £267 for the same year and a third enclosing a check for £10 with no explanation.

Payback period: the taxpayer has coughed up a further £224 in refunds dating back to 2016

Payback period: the taxpayer has coughed up a further £224 in refunds dating back to 2016

Tony Hetherington replies: As I recently found out for myself, tax professionals engaged in self-assessment and those engaged in Pay As You Earn are not the same thing. Employees told me they don’t even have access to each other’s files. It’s a recipe for chaos, confirmed when the same post delivered me two tax and customs letters, one saying the taxpayer owed me about £900 but was withholding it to cover soon to be tax due, while the other told me my PAYE deductions would skyrocket to collect the exact same £900.

When you chased the IRS about prior year refunds owed to you, the answer was that your claims were too old to be valid. This was bullshit. You had submitted the claims 16 months earlier, when they were still valid. You have won a refund of €670.

After I questioned this, the staff admitted that the £267 demand was simply wrong. They owed you £10, hence the check. Tax & Customs told me, ‘We apologized to Mr H for giving incorrect advice when he contacted us’. And the IRS has coughed up a further £224 in refunds dating back to 2016.

Delay pension increase

CA writes: Following a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions, I paid £1,580 to HMRC six months ago as voluntary national insurance contributions.

This was to increase my state pension, but despite writing and calling DWP monthly since then, I have not had an increase.

It appears that DWP and HMRC are not communicating effectively.

It's good to talk: it seems that DWP and HMRC are not communicating effectively

It’s good to talk: it seems that DWP and HMRC are not communicating effectively

Tony Hetherington replies: The letter you received from DWP stated that if you paid the extra contributions, your state pension would increase by more than € 10 per week.

I asked DWP officials to investigate why you weren’t paid. They’ve revised your state pension entitlement and increased it by just over £15 per week. A spokesperson told me: ‘We apologize for the delay in processing Mr A’s voluntary national insurance contributions. His updated AOW allocation has now been completed.’ You also have an arrears of € 232. Excellent.

If you believe you have been the victim of financial misconduct, write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email Due to the large number of questions, no personal answers can be given. Only send copies of original documents, which unfortunately cannot be returned.

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