How to avoid pension scams

It’s a sad fact of life but there are people who want to take your money for themselves. We shouldn’t have to be vigilant about this but we’ve got to be. Here’s some things for you to consider.

From January 2019 It was made illegal for companies to make unwanted or unsolicited phone calls to people about their pension. If you get one of these phone calls, hang up. Unless you have actively sought out advice and are expecting a call from a registered adviser don’t let these callers waste your time. 

Don’t allow yourself to be pushed in to making decisions on transferring your pension. 

Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Protect yourself from scams

Scammers can come across as financially knowledgeable and seemingly legitimate, with websites, references and materials that can seem like the real deal.

Here are some top tips to protect yourself and your pension:

Reject unexpected offers
If you’re contacted out of the blue about a pension opportunity it’s likely to be high risk or a scam. Be wary of any free offers, and if you receive a marketing call about your pension, the best thing you can do is to hang up. Also watch out for text messages with misleading links. Scammers will try and entice you any way they can.

Don’t be pressured or rush into anything
During the current climate you may be worried about how your pension is performing. It’s important you don’t rush into a decision, as criminals try to take advantage of any fears you may have. If you do make any decisions, take your time, do your research and make sure that your pension is safe.

Always check who you are dealing with
Check the Financial Services Register and this will tell you if the company who is contacting you is Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorised. Also be wary of ‘clone’ companies using a similar name. If in doubt check the register and use the contact details used there – not the ones given to you. Review the FCA warning list to check the risk of a pension or investment opportunity, to make sure that the company is authorised by the FCA and to make sure it’s not a scam.

Get help and advice
If you are seriously considering changing your pension arrangements then consider getting financial guidance or advice before you do, either from The Pensions Advisory Service, Pension Wise or a financial adviser.

Useful links and information

Pension Wise offers pre-booked appointments to talk through your retirement options. It’s available if you’re aged over 50 and have a defined contribution (DC) pension.

Head on over to www.pensionwise.gov.uk

The Pensions Advisory Service provides free, independent and impartial information.

Take a look at www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk

ScamSmart is an FCA regulated website providing information on how to avoid investment and pension scams.

Visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart for more information.

Suspect it? Report it!

Report the scam to the FCA by contacting their Consumer Helpline on freephone 0800 111 6768 or using the reporting form at www.fca.org.uk

Report an incident to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk

If you’re in the middle of a transfer, contact your provider immediately and then get in touch with The Pensions Advisory Service at www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk

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