Regulators turn to football to give pension scammers the boot

The UK’s fraud and pensions regulators have teamed up with football commentator Clive Tyldesley in a bid to reach out to men in their 50s who are falling victim to scams.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) said that pension savers have lost at least £30 million to fraudsters since 2017, according to Action Fraud data.

They hope a pun-laden campaign with Mr Tyldesley can help men in their 50s, who are the “average victim” of these fraudsters, to understand when they are being conned.

“Scammers are very good at breaking down your defences and putting you under pressure with various deadlines,” Mr Tyldesley said.

He added: “But your pension isn’t a football transfer – there are no deadlines! Your favourite team wouldn’t buy a new striker just because his agent says he’s good.

“They’d ask around, check out his stats, do some research – just like you should when handling your pension plans.

“Before you fall foul to savvy scammers, remember to take your time, seek advice, and speak to an FCA-authorised adviser. Don’t agree to anything you’re unsure of.”

The regulators recommended taking time to consider a decision and rejecting unexpected pension offers made online, on social media, or over the phone.

Savers should also check the FCA’s Financial Services Register, or call the regulator, before changing their pension arrangements, and even hire an independent adviser.

On Tuesday the FCA was criticised by former Court of Appeal judge Dame Elizabeth Gloster for holding up her probe into how it handled London Capital & Finance.

Clive Tyldesley
Clive Tyldesley

When it collapsed in January last year, the investment scheme trapped £237 million of cash belonging to investors – many of whom were saving for their retirement.

The FCA’s head of enforcement and markets, Mark Steward, said: “During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to defend your lifetime savings from scammers.

“Fraudsters will seek out every opportunity to exploit innocent people, no matter how much or how little you have saved.

“You can check the status of a firm before changing your pension by visiting the FCA register, and get advice from an FCA authorised firm before making any changes to your pension. And give scammers the boot!”

TPR chief executive Charles Counsell said: “Scammers wreck lives and no matter how big or small your savings are, every pot is a target.

“It may seem tempting to make a change to your pension fund now, but it’s important not to rush.

“Before making any decision about your pension, take your time, and visit the ScamSmart website to always check who you are dealing with.”