Over-55s are the targets of repeated cold-calling and email scams offering fake pension opportunities.
5 months after the introduction of the new pension freedoms, 40% of Citizens Advice pension staff have come into contact with people affected by pension scams. Around 10% have seen people fall victim to scams.
Of those contacted by scammers, 80% had been cold-called, a third had been sent emails and a third had received post.
The emerging scams highlighted by Citizens Advice are:
- fake financial products where the fraudster promises to invest a pension pot for a high return
- cold calls offering free pension reviews that require access to the victim’s pension
- pension cash investment schemes for assets like overseas property or fine wines.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Pension scams threaten people’s financial security. People are targeted again and again with bogus investment offers or fraudulent pension opportunities.”
Pensions Minister Baroness Ros Altmann, added:
“Pensions are precious so don’t fall foul of conmen who want to snatch your money.”
Avoiding pension scams
To stand the best chance of avoiding falling prey to a pension scam, individuals need to be aware of the common signs of fraudulent deals:
- any offer of a free service by an organisation or individual you have no previous relationship with
- a rate of return that is substantially higher than those offered by other investors or products
- feeling pressured into making a decision
- being offered the chance to access your pension before the age of 55.