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Spotting Common Pension Scams

In 2015, new pension freedoms were introduced, which gave people far more choice over how they use their pension savings.

But at the same time, it gave fraudsters new opportunities to target unsuspecting people – and meant more of us were at risk of becoming the victim of a pension scam.

So what methods are fraudsters using and what are the red warning signs you should look out for?

Bogus pension schemes and providers

Criminals may target unsuspecting customers through fake schemes and companies that claim to offer better returns.

Clone firms

Many fraudsters will deliberately imitate legitimate, established pension providers, perhaps using their logo, branding and website layout. As a result, many people might be fooled into thinking they’re dealing with existing companies, rather than scammers.

Investment fraud

Scammers may trick consumers into moving their pension funds elsewhere, after being promised high returns.

Pension liberation schemes

Criminals may falsely claim there are loopholes that allow people to access cash in their pension before they turn 55 without incurring a tax bill.

Cold calls

Scammers may use this method to tell savers they have been mis-sold a pension. They will then ask for a fee in advance to make a claim.

Employer-related scams

Employers may fraudulently divert your pension contributions elsewhere, which leads to savers incurring big losses.

High fees

Businesses may create unnecessarily complex business structures to disguise the charging of excessive fees.

Red flags to look out for:

  • High-pressure sales tactics, such as giving you a deadline to commit to
  • Guarantees of better returns on your pension
  • Promises to get cash from your pension pot early
  • Being offered a free pensions review
  • Complicated or high-risk investment structures
  • Unsolicited phone calls

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

So it’s really important that you’re aware of both the techniques fraudsters use and the tell-tale warning signs that something may not be quite as it seems.

That will put you in a much stronger position to focus on building your pension pot and preparing for a happy, fulfilling retirement.

If you need more information, head to the ScamSmart website for useful tips and advice.

And if you’re ever unsure about something, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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