Nearly one in 10 over-55s 'fear they have been targeted by pension scammers'

Nearly one in 10 over-55s fear they have been targeted by scammers since the launch of pension freedoms three years ago, a survey has found.

Prudential found 9% of people in this age group said they have been approached about their pension funds by people they now believe to be scammers since the rules came into effect from April 2015.

Offers to unlock or transfer funds are tactics commonly used to defraud people of their retirement savings, it said.

Less than a fifth (18%) of those approached by suspected scammers had reported their fears to authorities.

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Nearly half (47%) said the approaches involved offers to unlock pension funds or access money early, and 44% said they involved transferring pensions.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement income expert at Prudential, said: "If it sounds too good to be true then it usually is and people should be sceptical of investments that are offering unusually high rates of return or which invest in unorthodox products which may be difficult to understand.

"If in any doubt, seeking independent advice from regulated professional advisers will help ensure they won't get caught out.

"The Pensions Advisory Service, FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and the Pensions Regulator are doing good work raising awareness of the risks of scamming and by reporting suspected scams consumers can help the authorities tackle the issue and maintain confidence in pension freedoms."

Suspected scams can be reported to Action Fraud.

Some 1,000 people aged 55 and over from across the UK were surveyed.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "Our tough new plans to ban pensions cold-calling will ensure that savers are protected from the threat of pension scammers.

"As we work to bring in the pension transfer limitations we will continue to engage and work with industry and other stakeholders on how to implement this change."