Don't fall victim to pension scams

29 December 2017

January is a time when many people start to get their finances in order for the year ahead and this could include making decisions about pension savings and where to invest them. But be wary of cold callers and guaranteed returns...

Pension savings are an investment in your future, your passport to a financially secure retirement. But research shows that every second, eight people in the UK are targeted by cold callers who are after their hard-earned savings. That’s an equivalent of 250 million calls per year.

Last January, a record breaking £2.3m was scammed from Britain’s pensions pots – double that of the three months before it combined. 

Be wary of cold callers

This January, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman is warning people to be on their guard against pension scams. He said: “January is a great time to think about your pensions options and consider whether you are making the most of your savings. But I would urge consumers to be on their guard against pension cold callers.

“No reputable pensions firm would contact you out of the blue and suggest you transfer all your pensions savings to a better deal. So my message is clear – do your research, think carefully about the offer, and if you didn’t ask for the call, hang up the phone."

Last year the Government announced a number of new measures to better protect savers. These measures include a ban on all pensions cold calling, and that extends to emails and text messages too.

Also, HM Revenue and Customs rules are being tightened to stop scammers opening fraudulent pension schemes, and the Government will be taking action to help prevent the transfer of money from occupational pension schemes into fraudulent ones.  

Top tips to avoid pension scams

Hang up on cold callers

If someone calls you about your pension, put the phone down and don’t share any personal details with them.

Research, research, research

If an offer promises ‘guaranteed’ returns or seems too good to be true, it probably is. Use the Government’s free and impartial Pension Wise service if you want guidance about your options for a Defined Contribution pension.

Check them out

Double check on the FCA’s Scamsmart website  to see if your offer is a known scam, and whether the person calling is a fraud. Make sure they’re registered.

If in doubt, call the Pensions Advisory Service

You can call them on 0300 123 1047 or visit the Pensions Advisory Service website for free pensions guidance.

Do you think you’ve been scammed?

Then please call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

For more tips to protect your retirement savings, visit The Pensions Regulator's website, Pension Scams

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.