Scams are designed to encourage you to invest your savings into schemes that look legitimate – but actually line the pockets of unscrupulous fraudsters. Your hard-earned pension fund could be the target of financial scams when you’re planning how to put your savings to use.
Pension scams are on the rise, and there are different types of a pension scam which makes it sometimes harder to identify, but they can all lead to you losing a lifetime’s worth of savings.
Since April 2015 you have more choices about how you can access your pension pot than in the past, which is excellent for you when you decide to take your pension but scammers also know this and will try to lure you with one-off deals and a higher guaranteed return that you can’t get elsewhere.
How to spot a scam
When it comes to pension scams, there are some telltale signs that the person on the other side of the phone isn’t who they say they are.
- A ban was put in place on cold calling anyone about their pension in January 2019, so if you are approached by phone call, text message, email or in-person without your prior permission, i.e. you filled in a form online or asked for a callback beforehand.
- If they can offer you an income that is sufficiently higher than any other provider can. Sometimes this is possible but always check first.
- If you feel rushed to decide quickly on what you would like to do and pressured into giving personal bank details over the phone.
- Contact details you are provided, or on their website are only mobile phone numbers or a PO box address.
You may also come across websites that look like they’re run by a familiar provider. However, any contact forms or links on legitimate websites will never ask you for your bank details or personal information (beyond basic contact details). The URL at the top of any webpage will also have https:// at the start, too. Any page without the ‘s’ is not secure and could be a scam.
To prevent losing your pension savings always check a company is on the FCA register; asking for the registration number shouldn’t be a problem to a legitimate company. If you do feel like you have may have been targeted, then please report it to https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart.