£30 million in pension savings lost to scams in three years

26 August 2020

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have warned pension savers to ignore any unexpected pension offers that they may receive online, or over the phone.

TPR runs a ScamSmart campaign, and regularly provides guidance on how pension savers can ensure that they protect themselves from scams, and to help them to protect their money. Figures recently revealed that over £30 million has been stolen by scammers since 2017.

Pension pots both big and small are being targeted, with the amounts taken ranging from under £1,000,  anywhere up to £500,000. The regulators confirmed that the average victims are males in their 50s.

Pensions Expert reported that complaints made to Action Fraud highlighted that a total of £30,857,329 has been stolen by fraudsters since 2017, but it is thought that the true figure could be much higher, as research has shown that a substantial amount of savers do not know how much they have in their pension pot.

TPR and FCA have given four recommendations to help savers to protect their money. They should:

  • Reject unexpected offers – where individuals are contacted unexpectedly about their pension, there is a high risk that it could be a scam. Savers should be wary of free pension review offers. Research does, however, show that 95% of unexpected pension offers are rejected
  • Clarify who they are dealing with – the Financial Services Register can be used to check whether or not anyone offering financial advice or services is FCA-authorised
  • Take their time when making decisions – savers should ensure that they aren’t rushed or pressured into making important financial decisions. They should make sure they complete all the checks they need to prior to making any commitments
  • Seek impartial information and advice – The Pensions Advisory Service, Pension Wise, and financial advisers can all assist individuals in relation to their pension

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