Scammers targeted pension pots, with reported losses ranging between under £1,000 to £500,000, according to the national cybercrime taskforce, Action Fraud.
Men in their 50s are recognised as being the average victim to this crime, notably football fans approaching retirement, with just 43% of respondents surveyed by Action Fraud knowing how much is in their pension.
Through attractive and ‘‘time-limited offers’’, scammers persuade and pressure victims into transferring their money over to them.
The FCA and The Pensions Regulator have launched the ScamSmart campaign, fronted by football commentator Clive Tyldesley, to educate men approaching retirement on the dangers of pensions scams.
Mark Steward, the FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “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.’’
Charles Counsell, chief executive of The Pensions Regulator, said: “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.”