Scamwatch: New pension fraud warning

Jess Bown
Scamwatch: new pension fraud warning
Scamwatch: new pension fraud warning

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

See also: Seven signs you're being scammed

See also: The top ten dodgy estate agent tricks

This week, how brazen criminals are using official scam warnings to trick pension savers into trusting them with their life savings.

How does it work?

Devious crooks stole an estimated £5 million from pension savers in the first five months of this year alone.

Now, many of them are even cutting and pasting warnings issued by the Government and other authorities issue on to their sites to convince people they are legitimate businesses.

The Pensions Regulator said: "Watch out for scam sites that dress themselves up with anti-scam messaging.

"Scammers are always developing new ways to try to get their hands on people's pensions. Calling pension scheme members out of the blue and creating impressive-looking websites to snare potential victims are two methods they use to separate people from their funds."

Warnings being used for underhand purposes include "Don't fall for a pension scam" and "An offer of a free pension review could be a scam".

How can I avoid being caught out?

The Pensions Regulator is urging savers to protect themselves against pension fraudsters by hanging up on anyone cold calling about pension opportunities, being wary of any firms offering "guaranteed returns", and checking whether companies are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority before investing.

Other signs a salesperson or broker is trying to trick you include them flattering you - perhaps by calling you a sophisticated investor - or trying to pressure you into taking action quickly, for example by claiming their offer is only available for a very limited time.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?

If you think you have fallen victim to a pension scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

You can also contact The Pensions Advisory Service on 0300 123 1047 for free advice about any aspect of saving for retirement.