Be ScamSmart: avoid COVID-19 pension scams

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in fraudulent activity has been detected by the Pensions Regulator (tPR), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Money Advice and Pensions Service.

If you are approached about an investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true or are offered the ability to ‘access your pension early’, we strongly advise you to avoid it and report it to Action Fraud.

Always be mindful of the warning signs and, if in doubt, always check it out:

  1. Reject ALL unexpected offers: Be wary of cold calls – they are completely illegal.
  2. Know who you are dealing with: Always ensure you are dealing with an FCA-registered Financial Adviser. Check their credentials at register.fca.org.uk
  3. Check contact details carefully: Scammers have been known to ‘clone’ legitimate financial advisers’ websites to pass themselves off as the real thing. Always use the contact details on the FCA register.
  4. Don’t be pressured: ‘Time-limited offers’ or deals that sound too good to be true normally are. Your pension is one of your most valuable possessions and a genuine Financial Adviser will never rush you into a decision
  5. Get impartial information: Your money is your money. Never allow someone to tell you what to do with it. There are free and impartial services such as the Pensions Advisory Service, who can explain your options.
  6. Don’t waste your money on ‘Pension Liberation’ deals: The earliest you can access your pension benefits is from 55, an age set by the government. Some organisations may promise you early access to your savings, but the costs are high and the impacts on your financial security are immeasurable. You can lose over 85% of your life savings with such arrangements – don’t hand your life savings to someone else for short term cash. It can cost you your future.

For more information, visit the FCA’s ScamSmart website.