Regulation

Up to five million pension savers could put savings at risk to scammers

The Financial Conduct Authority and the Pension Regulator (TPR) have partnered to warn about fraudsters targeting people’s retirement savings.

The warning comes as research suggests that 42% of pension savers, equating to over five million people across the UK, could be at risk of falling for at least one of the common tactics used by pension scammers.

People who class themselves as either tech or financially savvy were found to be just as likely to be persuaded by scammers.

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The likelihood of people getting drawn into scams has increased by 60% as people look for investment opportunities in their investment funds.

Some 23% of all those surveyed said they would talk with a cold caller that wanted to discuss their pension plans, despite the government’s ban on pension cold-calls this January. Nearly a quarter said they would ask for website details, request further information or find out what they’re offering, even if the call came out of the blue.

Another 23% of the 45 to 65-year-olds questioned said they would be tempted by exotic opportunities if offered to them.

One in six 45-54-year-old pension savers said they would be interested in an offer from a company that claimed it could help them get early access to their pension, even though accessing their pension before the age of 55 could incur a large tax bill.

Guy Opperman, minister for pensions and financial inclusion said: “Pensions are one of the largest and most important investments we’ll ever make, and robbing someone of their retirement is nothing short of despicable.

“We know we can beat these callous crooks, because getting the message out there does work. Last year’s pension scams awareness campaign prevented hundreds of people from losing as much as £34 million, and I’m backing this year’s effort to be bigger and better as we build a generation of savvy savers.”

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight, FCA, added: “It doesn’t matter the size of your pension pot – scammers are after your savings. Get to know the warning signs, and before making any decision about your pension, be ScamSmart and check you are dealing with an FCA authorised firm.”

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