The Pensions Regulator releases findings from its latest ScamSmart campaign

08 November 2019

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has published worrying findings that relate to the devastating effects of pension fraud and how susceptible so many pension savers are to scams.

Beginning with the tag line ‘22 years of pension savings gone in 24 hours’; the press release details the extent of the issue, and reveals that nearly two thirds of people (63%) would trust someone offering pensions advice unexpectedly, which is one of the key indicators of a pension scam. The research also indicates that more highly educated individuals are more inclined to fall victim to pension fraud, with 40% of respondents with a degree more likely to welcome pension advice from companies they have had no previous dealings with.

The use of the statement ’22 years of pension savings gone in 24 hours’ originates from the fact that £82,000 was the average amount that people lost to pension scammers in 2018 and that it would take approximately 22 years for the average worker to save that amount into a pension scheme. The analysis also highlighted that 24% of those surveyed confessed to taking 24 hours or less to decide on a pension offer, which is no time at all to decide on something so monumental, which could have life changing repercussions.

 TPR recognises how pension scams can leave hard working individuals who have saved up tirelessly for their retirements in awful predicaments and facing the prospect of spending their later years with limited financial resource. It was with this notion in mind that TPR’s release was issued - in order to raise awareness of the problem and to alert people to the tell-tale signs of pension scams. They also offer four helpful steps that individuals should take in order to keep themselves protected:

  • 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 helpline 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

It would be appropriate to end with the adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.