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Rogers Rants - Part 8

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

With the changes to how people can access their pensions for many this has become a constant barrage of scammers and frauds trying to part people from their hard earned savings.

Four months after the pension reforms came into effect, two in five Citizens Advice pensions staff have seen people targeted repeatedly with pension scams.  A further one in ten saw people who had either responded or fallen prey to a scam.

Emerging scams seen by Citizens Advice include:

  • Unspecified financial products: People are asked by fraudsters to give them access to their pension pots, who would then invest them into financial products on their behalf. Despite offering a high rate of return, scammers were unable to explain what the investments might be.
  • Free pension reviews: People are texted or cold-called with offers of a free pension review. The caller then asks to visit the person in their own home, bringing paperwork that would allow them to get access to their pension details. One man responded to an internet ad for a free pension review, filled in his details, and was visited by someone claiming to be an Independent Financial Adviser who couldn’t describe any investments.
  • Investments for pension cash: People are approached with offers to invest their pension cash into products such as property overseas or fine wines. One investment scam featured two salesmen - one who visited the potential customer to get access to his pension details, and a second to encourage him to invest his pension and any other savings into property in South Africa.

“If you receive emails, or junk mail with promises of get-rich-quick schemes, chuck them in the bin.

“And if you get cold-called by someone offering a pension review or help to trace a lost pension, hang up because the chances are it’s a scam.”

How to avoid being scammed

  • Never be rushed into making a decision
  • Check if the company contacting you is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or The Pensions Regulator
  • If you are unsure, contact The Pensions Advisory Service on 0300 123 1047 or contact Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06
  • Look at the FCA’s Scamsmart warning list, which gives the names of investment schemes that are known scams. www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart
  • If you have already accepted an offer you think is a scam, report it to Action Fraud
  • For further information on pension scams, visit pensionwise.gov.uk