Beware – pension scams have soared significantly, taking advantage of the widespread anxiety caused by the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
If you are thinking of transferring your pension, please be extra vigilant, and visit ScamSmart where you can find specific guidance relating to COVID-19.
Transferring your pension without fully understanding the consequences is a significant risk.
If you get a cold call about your pension, STOP and THINK before you share any information with the person calling you!
Scammers stole nearly £5 million from private pensions in the first half of 2019 alone, and an analysis in November 2019 found that pension scam victims could lose an average of 22 years of savings in 24 hours!
Scammers are very clever and make sure they sound legitimate so someone like you thinks they are honest, credible, and have your best interests at heart.
As you get closer to retirement, fraudsters may try to lure you into an illegal transfer. If you agree, you could lose all your pension savings and face a large tax bill on top.
Recent research suggests that the more highly educated a person is, the more likely they are to fall for a pension scam.
Here are some of the most typical words and phrases scammers use, so you can spot a fraudster when you hear one:
A cold call or unsolicited text or email will often contain some of the phrases listed above.
Go through your options before you take your DC pension benefits, by booking a free appointment with MoneyHelper's PensionWise service at https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/pensions-and-retirement/taking-your-pension or speak to an IFA (full list at unbiased.co.uk).
To avoid losing all of your pension savings, check that your adviser is registered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and study the list of known scams. If the adviser or the company isn’t on there, or if it’s listed as being investigated, do not engage.
Don’t ever be rushed into a decision. Before you sign anything, call The Pensions Advisory Service on 0800 011 3797.
And if you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, please report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.
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