Warning: beware of scams

Pension scams are a big threat. They are on the increase in the UK and scammers are always looking at new ways they can deploy so always be on your guard.

If you fall victim to a scam, you can quickly lose your entire pension pot and may even face added costs, like a hefty tax bill.

As you get ready to retire, fraudsters may try to lure you in to an illegal transfer.

Here’s some tips on what to look out for and how to stay safe from scammers.

Spotting a scam

 The tactics used by scammers often include promises of:  

  • early access to your pension (before age 55)
  • investments with ‘guaranteed returns’
  • free pension reviews and health checks
  • pension loans or upfront cash
  • transferring your pension savings into small occupational schemes to avoid scrutiny from regulators

The methods used by scammers are always evolving, so keep an eye on the Financial Conduct Authority’s list of known scams here and protect yourself using the tips below.

Protecting yourself from a scam

To help protect yourself and your pension savings from scammers, you should:

  1. Be wary of cold calls and unsolicited texts, emails or social media messages
  2. Check if the people who approach you are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can check that here. And try calling them back using details from the FCA in case they’re simply posing as a well-known firm.
  3. Avoid overseas ‘investment deals’ or investments in unusual assets
  4. Question anything that seems too good to be true, such as promises of ‘guaranteed returns’ 
  5. Never be rushed into a decision or action, take the time to do your homework and double check everything
  6. Get impartial advice from our official advice partner, LV on 0800 023 4187 or The Pensions Advisory Service, especially if you’re considering a pension transfer. You can also find an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) in your area on unbiased.co.uk.

You can find out more about scams and how to avoid them with The Financial Conduct Authority here

Reporting a scam

If you think you’ve been a victim of a pension scam, please report it to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/