You've worked hard all your life, have carefully saved into a pension, and now you want to enjoy the fruits of your labour by securing a comfortable retirement income from your pension savings. So why risk losing your pot to fraudsters? It may not sound likely but it's actually a growing concern, with research from MetLife revealing a worrying trend of retirees being targeted by fraudsters – something that could potentially put their pension savings in jeopardy.
The figures show that almost one in 10 pensioners have been targeted by financial fraudsters or have been victims of financial scams since they retired, highlighting the need to be on your guard. Those in certain parts of the country are more likely to be targeted, too, with the figure rising to 14% among retired people in the South West.
Frauds that retired people have been involved in range from attempting to gain access to bank accounts through so-called 'vishing' scams, where people are tricked into handing over bank details and even cards, to selling fake investment and pension schemes. Arguably, this could be the most damaging, as it means retirees' life savings could be at stake.
There are fears, too, that scams could become even more prevalent when the new pension freedoms come into effect, with the increased flexibility meaning retirees will have more options when it comes to how to spend their nest egg. Unfortunately, this means scammers could come up with new ways to get access to it, with investment scams likely to become prevalent.
The risk of fraud, particularly in light of the new flexibilities, underlines the real need for those retiring this year to seek independent financial advice. Dominic Grinstead, managing director of MetLife UK, commented: "Pension flexibility offers the UK the chance to create a world-leading retirement saving system and to ensure that people have more comfortable retirements.
"Unfortunately, it is also providing opportunities for fraudsters who already see retired people as potential targets, as shown by the fact that so many have been subjected to scams. Independent advice on retirement options can help people become better informed and more able to see through fraudsters."
So, don't run the risk of losing your pension pot to fraudsters. Always seek independent financial advice before making any decision when it comes to how to spend your savings, and if you're cold-called by anyone claiming to help you invest your cash, hang up! Speak to the experts instead, and if you're starting to consider your options, consult our no obligation annuity planner to find out what they could be.
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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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