Pension Fraud

Pensions are important and often very significant assets that people rely on so that they may live comfortably in later life. However, like with any valuable asset they can be the target for illegitimate activities, scams or inappropriate and risky investments.

You should be aware that if you transfer your pension savings into an unregulated pension scheme or investment, or you are subject to a pension scam, you are likely to lose a significant amount, if not all of your pension savings, as well as face potential arrangement charges. Pension scammers are very clever and sophisticated; they use a number of methods to get their hands on your money. But there are a plenty of tell-tale signs that can help you to spot a scam and practices you can use to guard against them.

How to spot a scam

You should be wary if:

  • You receive unsolicited approaches over the phone, via email or text message or by a doorstep caller.
  • You receive offers about accessing your personal or company pension before the correct age.
  • You receive offers of transferring your money into a single overseas investment, with guaranteed returns of 8% or higher.
  • You receive offers or mentions of ‘one-off investments’, time bound offers, upfront cash incentives, ‘free pension reviews’, ‘legal loopholes’ or ‘government initiatives’.
  • You are asked to provide your phone number and home address and/or personal financial information, when you are only enquiring about the products on offer.
  • You are pressured to speed up the transfer process, through the use of a courier service or a visit from an insistent representative.
  • Member documentation is withheld from you, either with or without an explanation.
  • You are provided glossy marketing materials, but limited contact details for the adviser or company providing the offers.

*Only in rare cases – such as ill health – might it be possible to access funds before the normal age from your current pension scheme.

Guard against pension scams

  • Never divulge financial or personal information to a cold caller, or in response to an email or text.
  • Get as much information as you can about the company’s background – try the internet first, but be wary of ‘flashy’ websites.
  • If you are unsure about an offer you have received or if something doesn’t sound right, seek professional advice.
  • Never be rushed, pressured or harassed into make a decision about your pension.
  • Take your time and check before proceeding.

If you have been cold called and suspect it was a scam

  • Report it to the police

If you think you are a victim of a pension scam

  • Contact the pension scheme who you are transferring from immediately – they may be able to stop the transfer if it has not already gone through.
  • Report it to the police.

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