You may even have someone purporting to be from Microsoft who somehow knows that there is a virus on your computer. As a Mac user that one always makes me laugh.
Well, pensions are also the subject of a great deal of scams. Think about it, you have accrued a modest sum to look after you in retirement, but to the unscrupulous that can be seen as easy pickings.
Your life savings, gone in an instant.
So how do you ensure you don’t fall victim to these criminals? Well, the first thing to say is be vigilant and trust your gut instinct.
Reputable pension providers and advisers won’t pressurise you into making a quick decision. They will want the best for you and they know that it takes time to build trust and a working relationship.
Check the Financial Conduct Authority Register to ensure that the adviser or organisation is registered before you begin to proceed.
If the organisation provides you with a website to check, remember these are clever people. The websites will look legitimate and are often cloned from real websites from genuine, reputable companies.
If you are approached out of the blue by someone you have never heard of by either phone call, text or email then alarm bells should start ringing. Remember, when seeking professional advice on anything, especially financial matters, a trusted friend’s recommendation is usually the best way to build a relationship with someone.
Be very wary of anyone who wants you to transfer money to an overseas fund, or offers returns greater than 8%.
If they mention ‘one-off investments’, ‘time bound offers’, ‘upfront cash incentives’, ‘free pension reviews’, legal loopholes’ or 'government initiatives’ then your alarm bells should be ringing. (1)
Often, once you transfer your pension it’s too late and you could lose your entire life savings.
It’s also worth remembering that not all pension scams are illegal, some are just incredibly high risk schemes. The scammers know the risk but it’s not their money they are gambling with, it’s yours. If they lose it all, there will be little or nothing you can do to get it back.
The Pensions Advisory Service has loads of really good, comprehensive advice that will help you to spot the scammers from genuine pension advisers who can help you build a comfortable and enjoyable retirement. However, some scammers are so immoral that they will claim to be from that very organisation.
If you think you might have already been targeted and you’ve agreed to transfer your pension, you should:
Contact your pension provider immediately- they may be able to stop the transfer if it has not already gone through.
- Contact Action Fraud 0300 123 2040 and report the scam.
The Pension Advisory Service – Common concerns Pension Scams – Accessed on 2nd November 2016Last modified: June 10, 2021