Over £30 Million Lost Through Pension Scams | moneyfacts.co.uk

Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 26/08/2020

Pension savers are being warned to watch out for scams as over £30 million has been lost to pension scammers in just three years.

Information released by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pension Regulator (TPR) reveals that according to complaints filed with Action Fraud, a total of £30,857,329 has been lost to pension scammers since 2017.

Scammers are not just targeting savers with large pension pots, as research found that losses ranged from £1,000 to £500,000. The average victim was a man in his 50s.

A common pension scam is for scammers to design attractive offers to persuade savers to transfer their pension pot to them, often setting ‘time-limited offers’ or deadlines to pressure savers into releasing their money. As Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, explained: “During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to defend your lifetime savings from scammers. Fraudsters will seek out every opportunity to exploit innocent people, no matter how much or how little you have saved. You can check the status of a firm before changing your pension by visiting the FCA register, and get advice from an FCA authorised firm before making any changes to your pension. And give scammers the boot!”

Savers know more about football finances than their pensions

The true number of pension scam victims is believed to be higher than those reported by Action Fraud, as savers fail to spot the signs of scams and do not know how much is in their pension pot.

In fact, research has found that of football fans approaching retirement, just 43% know how much is in their pension pot and 45% do not know how to check if someone approaching them about their pension is legitimate. To help combat this and warn against ‘time-limited offer’ pension scams, the FCA and TPR have teamed up with football commentator Clive Tyldesley as part of its ScamSmart campaign. Tyldesley said: “Scammers are very good at breaking down your defences and putting you under pressure with various deadlines. But your pension isn’t a football transfer – there are no deadlines! Your favourite team wouldn't buy a new striker just because his agent says he's good. They’d ask around, check out his stats, do some research – just like you should when handling your pension plans. Before you fall foul to savvy scammers, remember to take your time, seek advice, and speak to an FCA authorised adviser. Don't agree to anything you’re unsure of.”

Charles Counsell, chief executive at TPR, added: “Scammers wreck lives and no matter how big or small your savings are, every pot is a target. It may seem tempting to make a change to your pension fund now, but it’s important not to rush. Before making any decision about your pension, take your time, and visit the ScamSmart website to always check who you are dealing with.”

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