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26 November 2020

Staying safe from scammers

According to Action Fraud, more than 160 new pension scam cases have been reported since the start of the first lockdown in March. 

 To help stop scammers enjoying your retirement fund, follow this advice from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

1. Reject unexpected offers

Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue and offered a free pension review, especially if it’s a company you’ve not dealt with before. This can happen in person, over the phone, by email, text or online, including social media.

2. Check who you're dealing with

Visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart or call the FCA on 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm you are dealing with is authorised. Scammers sometimes pose as well-known firms, so you should insist on calling them back using the contact information for that company on the FCA Register and not with any details they give you. This will help make sure they are who they say they are.  Before you do this, we would also recommend you hang up and then call another number you are familiar with, such as a family member or friend, to make sure the previous call is closed and the scammer is not still on the line.

3. Don’t be rushed or pressured

Take time to make the checks outlined here, even if it means turning down what appears to be an ‘amazing deal’. Scammers often succeed by making people think that what they’re offering is only possible for a limited time and pressuring them to sign up on the spot.

4. Get impartial advice

Get independent information and advice before making any changes to your pension. You can do this via the Pensions Advisory Service ( www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk) or an independent Financial Advisor. Check that your advisor is FCA regulated and not connected to the company that contacted you in the first place, or they could be part of the scam.

 

More information about pension scams, including how they work and how to report them, is available through Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.  Their website can be found here.

The Government has also produced a guide specifically about how to protect yourself from fraud and cybercrime during the COVID-19 crisis.  That can be found online here.