MONEY: Avoid Pension Scams

Although it was often people in their fifties who were targeted by pension scammers, older people now seem to be attracting their attention too. The Pensions Regulator has come up with some handy tips on avoiding scams (below) and a booklet with more advice (download pdf file)

Ten steps to protect your pension – If you’re thinking about how to invest your retirement savings, follow these ten steps to protect your pension.

1. Be wary of cold calls and unsolicited texts or emails
Scammers will often claim they’re from Pension Wise or other government-backed bodies. These organisations would never phone or text to offer a pension review.

2. Check everything for yourself
People have fallen for scams because they’d been ‘recommended by a friend’. Do your homework, even if you consider yourself to be financially savvy – false confidence can lead to getting stung.

3. Make sure your adviser is on the Financial Conduct Authority approved register
Pensions scammers may pose as financial advisers. Check to make sure yours is registered on the FCA website.

4. Check the FCA’s list of known scams
Visit the FCA’s scamsmart to see if the deal you’re being offered is a known scam.

5. Steer clear of overseas investment deals
Well-known scam types include unregulated investment in a hotel, vineyard or other overseas opportunities, and where your money is all in one place – and therefore more at risk.

6. Don’t fall for ‘guaranteed’ returns or professional looking websites or brochures
You can never guarantee returns on an investment, and anyone can create a smart website or brochure these days. Question everything, however credible it sounds or looks.
7. Don’t be rushed into a decision
Scammers will try to pressure you with ‘time limited offers’ or send a courier to your door to wait while you sign documents. Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing’ deal.

8. If you’re aged 50 or over and have a DC pension, talk to Pension Wise
Pension Wise is there to help you investigate your retirement options. Visit the Pension Wise website for more information (and to check what kind of pension you have).
Pension Wise

9. Ask The Pensions Advisory Service for help if you have doubts
You can call them on 0300 123 1047 or visit the TPAS website for free pensions advice and information.

10. Contact your provider and call Action Fraud if you’ve already signed and think you’ve been scammed
If you’ve already signed something you’re now unsure about, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and contact your pension provider immediately. They may be able to stop a transfer that hasn’t taken place yet.

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