Pension scams: How can you avoid being scammed? What are the warning signs?

October 27, 2018
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Devious crooks are using sophisticated methods to dupe savers out of their pension pot, with more than 250 people being conned for their cash in 2017, according to Action Fraud.

In total, 253 victims reported they had lost more than £23 million to pension scams in 2017 – averaging a shocking £91,000 per person.

And this is just based on the number of frauds reported – it is thought the actual sum could be substantially higher, with a large number of cons going unreported.

So what are the warning signs of a scam?

Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at Canada Life, told Express.co.uk there are several tactics used by fraudsters and fake companies.

Savers should be wary of cold calls or emails and letters from an unknown source, while offers for a “free pension” review should also set alarm bells ringing.

Another wild claim which Mr Tully says is highly likely of fraudulent activity is schemes to free up your money from a pension before the age of 55.

He said: “Any phone call out of the blue or unsolicited email is a sure sign of a scam.

“Free pension reviews also give the game away. Simply hang up or delete the email.

“Any offer to access your pension and release cash before the age of 55 is also going to be a scam.

“A company making claims about the sort of returns you could expect on your pension also signal a scam.”

Other methods that flag up signs of a scam, according to Government advice, include an individual or company encouraging you to take out a large sum of money, or the whole pension pot in one go, to let them invest it for you.

Putting you under pressure to make a quick decision, for example making time-sensitive offers, is also another common tactic used by crooks.

How can you avoid being scammed?

If you are unsure if the person approaching you is who they say they are, check the individual or company on the Financial Services Register or call the Financial Conduct Authority on 0800 111 6768.

If you call the person or company back, use the phone number listed on the Financial Services Register rather than dialling the number they provide you with.

Never give out personal or financial details to an individual or company over the phone.

Mr Tully said: “Heed the warning signs and hang up.

“If something appears to be good to be true, it probably is, so simply walk away.”

There are also several websites you can contact in a time of uncertainty, including:

SmartScam: https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart

ActionFraud: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Pensionwise: https://www.pensionwise.gov.uk/en/scams



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