Frank Field, Labour MP and chair of an influential parliamentary committee, has called for legislative action to help keep pension savings safe.
This comes after Police data shows that more than £43m of people’s retirement savings have been lost to fraud since the pension freedom reforms were announced. Figures from The Pensions Regulator estimate that around £500 million is stolen from our pensions every year!
There are different types of scam, but they often begin with someone contacting you unexpectedly by phone, email or letter. They may invite you to learn more about:
•an investment or other business opportunity that you’ve not previously spoken to them about
•taking your pension money before you’re 55
•ways that you can invest your pension fund
Protect yourself from fraud
Fraudsters and their scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They can be financially articulate and very convincing; with websites and marketing material that make them look legitimate. So how would you know if you’re about to be the next victim?
Spot the warning signs – If you’re contacted out of the blue, if the investment risks are downplayed, or they are using pressurised selling tactics which offer a bonus or discount, it should set off alarm bells. And if the offer is ‘one time only’ or you’re asked not to share the details of the ‘opportunity’, you should be suspicious.
Check the Financial Services Register – https://register.fca.org.uk or call 0800 111 6768. If an individual or company is not on the register, it’s probably a scam.
A good rule of thumb with all scams is if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
If you think you are being targeted by a scam hang up the call, delete the email, rip up the letter. If you think you have been the victim of a scam already contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, immediately on 0300 123 2040.
To find out more about how to protect yourself from financial scams visit:
Always talk to your trusted Financial Advisor before taking any critical financial decisions, especially when it comes to something as important as your pension.
Brian Downton is Practice Principle and Senior Financial Planning Consultant at Downton & Ali Associates.