Creative Pension Trust has joined in the recent Pensions Regulator’s campaign, pledging to combat pension scams in any way we can. By making this pledge, we have agreed to:
- Regularly warn members about pension scams
- Encourage members asking for cash drawdown to get impartial guidance from one of the services offered by the Money and Pensions Service
- Take appropriate due diligence measures by carrying out checks on pension transfers and documenting pension transfer procedures
- Clearly warning members if they insist on high-risk transfers being paid
- Report concerns about a scam to the authorities and communicate this to the scheme member
We have made this pledge because the welfare of our members is of great importance to us. You have placed your trust in Creative Pension Trust and we intend to keep it.
Common scam tactics
While the specific details of each scam are different, there are some tactics that are widely used and are good indicators that things aren’t as they seem. If you experience any of the signals below, exit the interaction immediately. These common scam tactics include:
- Contact out of the blue
- Promises of high or guaranteed returns
- Free pension reviews
- Access to your pension before age 55
- Pressure to act quickly
While they may not seem like cause for concern at the time, it is better to be overcautious when it comes to your financial well-being.
Steps you can take
In addition to the actions we are taking as a leading pension provider, there are steps you can take to help ensure the safety of your pension. Remain vigilant and take the following actions for additional security:
Reject unexpected offers
If you are contacted out of the blue about your pension, there is a high risk of a scam. You should always be wary of free pension review offers. In particular, any free offer out of the blue from a company you have not dealt with before is probably a scam. Fortunately, research shows that 95% of unexpected pension offers are rejected. Be sure you are not part of the less fortunate 5%.
Check who you’re dealing with
If you’re not familiar with the person or business contacting you, check the Financial Services Register to make sure that anyone offering you advice or other financial services is Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)-authorised.
If the firm you use is not FCA-authorised, you won’t have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This means you are unlikely to get your money back if anything does go awry.
If, on the other hand, the firm is on the FCA Register, you should call the Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 to check if the firm is permitted to give pension advice. Beware of fraudsters pretending to be from a firm authorised by the FCA, as it could be what we call a ‘clone firm’. Use the contact details provided on the FCA Register, not the details they give you.
Don’t be rushed or pressured
This simple step is absolutely key. Fraudsters and scammers frequently put pressure on you to act quickly and prevent you from thinking things through clearly. Make sure you take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’. Be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true and don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision.
Get impartial information and advice
Any time you are looking to make financial decisions, seeking impartial and professional advice is a good idea. This is especially true if you feel there is any reason to be concerned about someone contacting you in regard to your pension.
The Pensions Advisory Service provides free independent and impartial information and guidance.
Pension Wise offers pre-booked appointments to talk through your retirement options if you’re over 50 and have a defined contribution (DC) pension.
Financial advisers are another great resource. It’s important you make the best decision for your own personal circumstances, so you should seriously consider using the services of a financial adviser. If you do opt for an adviser, be sure to use one that is regulated by the FCA and never take investment advice from the company that contacted you or an adviser they suggest, as this may be part of the scam.
If you suspect a scam, report it. This is one of the best ways to combat fraud. You can make a report to the FCA by contacting their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 or using the reporting form at www.fca.org.uk.
You can also report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk
If you are in the middle of a transfer, contact your provider immediately and then get in touch with The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) at www.thepensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk.
Remember, we have committed to fighting against pension scams and are doing our utmost to ensure your financial future is secure. For more information about what you can do to avoid pension scams, explore scam and fraud prevention articles in the Help Centre.