A total of £30,857,329 has been reportedly lost to pension scammers since 2017 according to complaints filed with Action Fraud, says the Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator.
Scammers targeted pension pots big and small, with reported losses ranging from under £1,000 to as much as £500,000 and the average victim being a man in his 50s.
But the true number of victims is likely to be much higher as savers fail to spot the signs of a scam and don’t know how much is in their pots.
New research shows that’s particularly true for football fans approaching retirement, with just 43% knowing how much is in their pot and nearly half (45%) not knowing how to check if an approach about their pension is legitimate.
Scammers design attractive offers to persuade you to transfer your pension pot to them, often setting ‘time-limited offers’ or deadlines to pressure you into releasing your money.
Overconfidence could be an issue with nearly two thirds (65%) saying they’d be confident in spotting a scam approach. But 4 in 10 (39%) would put themselves at risk unknowingly by engaging with a common scam tactic such as being told it’s a time-limited offer, or that there is a guaranteed high return on their savings.
The regulators recommend four simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams:
- Don’t be rushed or pressured into making any decision about your pension
- Reject unexpected pension offers whether made online, on social media or over the phone
- Check who you’re dealing with before changing your pension arrangements – check the Financial Services Register or call the FCA helpline on 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm you are dealing with is authorised by the FCA
- Consider getting impartial information and advice
Pension savers can test how ScamSmart they are by taking a quiz on the ScamSmart site. Visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart to find out more.