FCA and TPR warn public of pension scammer tactics

FCA and TPR warn public of pension scammer tactics

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) have launched a new campaign to tackle pension scams, as the latest figures reveal that victims of pension scammers lost an average of £91,000 each in 2017.

The FCA and TPR have joined forces to urge the public to be on their guard when receiving unexpected offers about their pension and to check who they are dealing with.

The two regulators have launched a new ScamSmart advertising campaign targeting pension holders aged 45 to 65, the group most at risk of pension scams.

This comes as a new poll commissioned by the regulators reveals that almost a third (32%) of pension holders aged 45 to 65 would not know how to check whether they are speaking with a legitimate pensions adviser or provider.

Highly sophisticated scammers lure people into transferring their pensions into fraudulent schemes, stealing an average of £91,000 per victim. Victims of pension scams can lose their life savings, and be left facing retirement with limited income.

The FCA and TPR are calling the public’s attention to the tactics used by pensions scammers. One of the most common tactics is to offer a ‘free pension review’. Research reveals that one in eight 45- to 65-year-olds surveyed (12%) said they would trust an offer of a ‘free pension review’ from someone claiming to be a pension adviser.

Cold calling is currently by far the most common method used to initiate pension fraud. Scammers also use post and email, as well as offers of high returns while downplaying the risks and unregulated unusual or overseas investments.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “The size of individual pension pots makes pensions savings an attractive target for fraudsters. That’s why we’re urging anyone who is thinking about transferring their pension to check who they are dealing with and only use firms authorised by the FCA. Pension scams can cause victims significant harm—both financially and mentally. If you are ever in doubt about a pension offer, visit the ScamSmart website.”

Nicola Parish, executive director of TPR, added: “£91,000 is a huge amount of money for someone approaching their retirement to suddenly have ripped from their savings. If someone cold calls you about your pension, it’s probably an attempt to steal your savings. Our message is clear—hang up and report it.”

The FCA and TPR recommend four simple steps for savers to protect themselves from pension scams:

  • Reject unexpected pension offers whether made online, on social media or over the phone
  • Check who you’re dealing with before changing your pension arrangements—check the FCA Register or call the FCA contact centre on 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm you are dealing with is authorised by the FCA
  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making any decision about your pension
  • Consider getting impartial information and advice
  • If you think you’ve been a victim of a pension scam, report it. Visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart to find out more
Categories: News, UK Pensions

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