Pension scams put savings at risk

Over-55s are the targets of repeated cold-calling and email scams offering fake pension opportunities.

5 months after the introduction of the new pension  freedoms, 40% of Citizens Advice pension staff have come  into contact with people affected by pension scams. Around  10% have seen people fall victim to scams.  Of those contacted by scammers, 80% had been cold-called,  a third had been sent emails and a third had received post.

The emerging scams highlighted by Citizens Advice are:

  • ŸŸfake financial products where the fraudster promises to invest a pension pot for a high return
  • ŸŸcold calls offering free pension reviews that require access to the victim’s pension
  • Ÿpension cash investment schemes for assets like overseas property or fine wines.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Pension scams threaten people’s financial security. People are targeted again and again with bogus investment offers  or fraudulent pension opportunities.”

Pensions Minister Baroness Ros Altmann, added: “Pensions are precious so don’t fall foul of conmen who want to snatch your money.”

Avoiding pension scams

To stand the best chance of avoiding falling prey to a  pension scam, individuals need to be aware of the common signs of fraudulent deals:

  • any offer of a free service by an organisation or individual you have no previous relationship with
  • a rate of return that is substantially higher than those offered by other investors or products
  • ŸŸfeeling pressured into making a decision
  • ŸŸbeing offered the chance to access your pension before the age of 55.