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If you’ve spent many years working hard and saving up for later life, being scammed out of your pension can be truly devastating.

Just a moment of misplaced trust can lead to you losing a lifetime of savings, and it’s impossible to get this money back.

That’s why it’s so important to be alert to the methods used by fraudsters and the warning signs that something might not be what it seems. A pension scam involves a fraudster trying to deceive a person into transferring a share of their pension savings to them.

They’ll use various tactics, such as:

Ringing you out of the blue

Purporting to be a genuine financial services provider, in the hope of tricking you into revealing sensitive personal and financial data.

Sending emails

That, on first glance, appear to be from a real financial institution, that encourage you to submit your details on a web page that again look similar to the real thing.

Targeting you

With adverts claiming to offer free pension reviews and consultations with no obligation.

Offering supposed deals with guaranteed high returns

Promising early access to your pension (before you turn 55)

How Can You Prevent Fraud?

At first, it can be easy to think all the above may be legitimate and genuine, but if you experience any of these, alarm bells should start ringing.

For instance, if you get an unsolicited approach via phone, email, text message, or even via social media or in person, you should remember that cold calling about pensions has been banned in the UK for the last three years.

That means you can only be contacted by a financial services company about your pension if you’ve explicitly given them your consent.

So don’t accept any unexpected offers. If you’re offered something from a company you haven’t dealt with before, it’s a good bet that it’s actually a fraudster.

You should also be suspicious if you feel hurried into making a quick decision. No genuine and reputable financial services provider would rush anyone into acting impulsively, so you shouldn’t at any point feel under pressure to decide straightaway. 

Always take your time before making any major financial decisions

Next, always check the credentials of anyone offering you financial advice or services

You can do this by visiting the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) website and seeing if they’ve been authorised by the regulator.

The FCA website also contains the genuine contact details of these companies, so if you’re approached by a fraudster claiming to be from an authorised business, you can check if the details you’ve been given match what’s listed online.

Similarly, don’t be taken in by websites that look official but are in fact, fraudulent. Again, the real website addresses are listed on the FCA site, so you can check here whether they’re genuine or not.

You should be just as cautious when you’re opening emails claiming to be from financial services providers, especially if they contain links. Scammers are extremely adept at creating websites that appear almost indistinguishable from those of genuine companies, so unsuspecting users might click on links to these fake pages and be tricked into submitting sensitive information, such as their bank details.

So instead of clicking on links within an email, always log on to financial services websites directly.

If it Seems to Good to be True, it Probably is

The final piece of advice we’d like to give you is that you should always be sceptical of any offers or deals that seem too good to be true, such as low-risk investments, tax loopholes or time-limited offers.

Fraudsters don’t want you to make informed, well-considered decisions, which is why they wave temptation in front of you and make alluring promises.

Always remember the maxim that any offers that seem too good to be true almost certainly are, and be cautious if anyone is promising you the earth.

If you have any concerns about pension scams or think someone may be trying to defraud you, get in touch with us for support.

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