Scammers usually contact people out of the blue via phone, email or text, or even advertise online. Or they may be introduced to you by a friend or family member who is also unknowingly being scammed.
Scam offers often include:
- free pension reviews
- higher returns
- help to release cash from your pension even though you’re under 55 (an offer to release funds before age 55 is highly likely to be a scam)
- high-pressure sales tactics – the scammers may try to pressure you with ‘time-limited offers’
- unusual investments – which tend to be unregulated and high risk
- complicated structures where it isn’t clear where your money will end up
arrangements where there are several parties involved
- long-term pension investments
4 simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams:
Step 1 – Reject unexpected offers
If you’re contacted out of the blue about a pension opportunity, chances are it’s high risk or a scam.
Step 2 – Check who you’re dealing with
Check the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Register to make sure that anyone offering you advice or other financial services is FCA authorised.
Check to see if they are registered with Companies House and for the names of the directors.
Check the FCA Warning List – to check the risks of a potential pension or investment opportunity.
Step 3 – Don’t be rushed or pressured
Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’.
Step 4 – Get impartial information or advice
You should seriously consider seeking financial guidance or advice before changing your pension arrangements.
The Pensions Advisory Service provides free independent and impartial information and guidance.
You can also use a financial adviser to help you make the best decision for your own personal circumstances.
If you suspect a scam, report it
Report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or by using our online reporting tool.
Report to the FCA – you can report an unauthorised firm or scam to the FCA by contacting their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 or using the Action Fraud reporting form at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/guide-to-reporting
If you’ve agreed to transfer your pension and now suspect a scam, contact your pension provider straight away. They may be able to stop a transfer that hasn’t taken place yet. If you are unsure of what to do contact the Pensions Advisory Service for help.