£1.8 million lost to pension fraud this year alone
A total of £1.8 million has already been lost to pension fraud this year, new figures have revealed.
While new data from Action Fraud recorded a steady fall in pension scam reports from 1,788 in 2014 to 358 in 2020, a spike has been reported so far this year, with 107 reports of pension fraud received in the first three months of 2021.
“Criminals are malicious and unapologetic when it comes to committing pension fraud. They are motivated by their own financial gain and lack any kind of empathy for their victims, who can often lose their whole life savings to these scams,” said Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud.
Action Fraud has launched a national awareness campaign to remind the public about the importance of doing their research before making changes to their pension arrangements.
It warned that pension scams often include free pension reviews, “too good to be true” investment opportunities, or offers to help release money from a pension even for people under 55.
Sadly, Action Fraud warned, the true scale of pension fraud is likely to be much higher than what is being reported.
Pension scams are devastating with victims potentially losing life-changing sums,” said Nicola Parish, the Pensions Regulator’s executive director of frontline regulation.
“Savers must be cautious about making decisions about money that may have taken a lifetime to build, as it can be snatched away in an instant.”
Some simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams
- Reject unexpected pension opportunities, such as free pension reviews or investment opportunities involving your pension, whether made via email, social media, text, or over the phone.
- Research who you’re dealing with before changing your pension arrangements – check the FCA Register, or call the FCA on 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm is authorised by the FCA.
- Don’t be rushed or pressured into making any decision about your pension – consider getting impartial information and advice from a financial adviser authorised by the FCA to help you make the best decision for your own personal circumstances.
- Be suspicious if you are contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity - seek advice from trusted friends, family members or an independent professional advice service before making a significant financial decision, especially when it involves your pension pot. Even genuine investment schemes can be high risk.
- Be ScamSmart and visit the ScamSmart websiteto learn how to protect yourself from pensions scams.