Pensions are one of the best ways to secure your future after retirement, however pension scams are becoming more commonplace in the UK, putting people’s savings at risk.
If you contribute to a pension, or are thinking about starting a pot, your money could be at risk. According to The Pensions Regulator:
“Some of the tactics used by pension scammers include offering free pension reviews, health checks and promises of better returns on their savings, pension loans, upfront cash or other promotions to tempt them. Most of these are bogus.
Some scammers are also directing members to transfer their pension savings into small (often one or two member) occupational schemes in an attempt to escape scrutiny from regulators.”
A campaign called Project Bloom is being conducted by a number of government and pension authorities aims to raise awareness and prevent pensions fraud from taking place. Full information about Project Bloom can be found here.
Victims may be coerced into making “one-off pension investments” or lump sums in order to free up the funds in their pension pots. This often leads to their cash being moved overseas or into unsafe investment arrangements.
Tips on Avoiding Scams
The Serious Fraud Office has put together some tips on how to avoid these scams, and keep your savings safe:
- Never give out financial personal information to a cold caller or be rushed into agreeing a pension transfer.
- Find out the company's background and whether advisers are approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) at www.fca.org.uk/register.
- Review promotional material for the scheme being offered and ask for a statement showing how your pension will be paid at retirement. Question who will look after your money until then.
- Seek independent advice before agreeing to any pension transfer. Charles James Financial Planning can assist you with any changes you would like to make to your pension. We are approved by the FCA and you can contact us here.
If you require more help on pension scams, you can read a copy of the pension scams booklet here. If you think you have been a victim of this or another form of fraud, contact Action Fraud in the first instance on 0300 123 2040, or at Action Fraud.