Scam awareness campaign prompts tens of thousands of pension holders to seek information
The number of people seeking information about pension scams has soared since the launch of the first joint campaign by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) this summer.
In the 55 days before the launch around 31,000 people visited the ScamSmart website at an average of 562 per day. In the 55 days after the launch this rose five-fold (462%) to more than 173,000 people – an average of 3,145 per day and the equivalent of one every 27 seconds. Additionally, over 370 pensions holders were warned about an unauthorised firm after using the Warning List, an online tool that helps consumers check a list of firms operating without authorisation.
The two regulators are urging all pension holders to be on their guard against pension scams as new research suggests that half (52%) of 45-65 year olds with a pension do not think they are likely be targeted by a pension scam. The most common reasons given were that they are too savvy to be scammed (21%) or that they didn’t have enough money saved in their pension (18%).
Victims of pension scams last year lost an average of £91,000 each to fraudsters. They reported receiving cold-calls, offers of free pension reviews and promises that they would get high rates of return – all of which are key warning signs of scams.
Research from the FCA estimates over 10 million UK adults received an unsolicited pension offer in just one year. The Treasury has laid regulations that will ban pension cold calling early in 2019.
The FCA and TPR are urging the public to be ScamSmart with their pension and always check who they’re dealing with. The regulators recommend four simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams:
- Reject unexpected pension offers whether made online, on social media or over the phone
- Check who you’re dealing with before changing your pension arrangements – check the FCA Register or call the FCA contact centre on 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm you are dealing with is authorised by the FCA
- Don’t be rushed or pressured into making any decision about your pension
- Consider getting impartial information and advice
If you think you’ve been a victim of a pension scam, report it. Visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart to find out more.