Warning over pension scams

Those approaching retirement are being urged to be aware of a rise in pension scams, as criminals seek new ways to defraud pensioners.

Savers have been urged to be aware of a rise in pension scams, as criminals seek new ways to defraud pensioners. A report produced by Citizens Advice looked at 150 cases where pensioners had fallen victim to fraudsters. The report identified common types of scams which include:

  • encouraging pensioners to move their savings into a ‘new’ pension
  • fake investment opportunities and
  • offering apparently ‘free advice’ and support which actually costs money.

In some cases pensioners are charged a fee for a service that isn’t required, while others are encouraged to part with personal information and bank details, either by email or phone.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said:

‘Scammers see pensioners as a prime target….‘There are many people looking to benefit from the new pension rules, including scammers. Fraudsters can ruin people’s retirement plans by taking a portion or all of a victim’s pension pots.’

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has recently launched a campaign to alert people to the danger posed by fraudsters.

From 6 April 2015 individuals have more flexibility as to how they use their pension pot, including the option to choose to take all their savings as a cash lump sum. TPR has warned that scammers are exploiting this change by enticing those about to retire with promises of ‘one-off investments‘ or ‘pension loans’ or ‘upfront cash’, most of which are bogus.

Individuals who believe they are being targeted by a pension scam should contact the Pensions Advisory Service on 0300 123 1047. The Financial Conduct Authority’s website also has a list of known scams. Visit scamsmart.fca.org.uk.

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