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29 July 2021

Don’t let criminals steal your retirement

Scammers are intensifying their efforts to steal your pension.

According to the Financial Conduct Authority, scammers have defrauded people out of more than £2million worth of pension savings so far this year.

A total of £2,241,774 has been reportedly lost to pension scammers since the start of 2021 (January-May 2021).  Some victims of pensions scams are reluctant to report that they have been scammed or do not realise they have been scammed until years later, so the total amount lost may be much higher.

It can happen to anyone. 

Scammers target pension pots big and small, with reported losses ranging from less than £1,000 to as much as £500,000. The average loss this year was £50,949, according to complaints filed with Action Fraud. That’s more than double last year’s average (£23,689). 

If you’re close to retirement, or considering transferring your pension, watch out, as you’re particularly at risk. 

Anyone can be the victim of a pension scam, no matter how financially savvy you think you are. Test your wits by taking the ScamSmart quiz now.

10 steps to guard against pension scams

1. Always reject any unexpected calls, emails, texts or social media approaches about pensions. 

2. Be very wary if you’re offered a free pension review by anyone.

3. Do your own research on anyone offering you financial advice. Check the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register, to make sure that they are FCA-authorised. You can also call the FCA on 0800 111 6768 to make sure they are authorised to give you financial advice. 

4. Sometimes scammers may pretend to be from a firm authorised by the FCA, so you should always use the contact details provided on the FCA Register, not the details they give you. 

5. If someone has approached you claiming to be from a well-known organisation. Check that their contact details match exactly. 

Your pension administrator, or IFA, will never contact you out-of-the-blue by phone about your pension. It will only be in response to a query from you. Reject calls or online approaches about your pension from anyone you don’t know.

6. Don’t be fooled by slick-looking brochures and websites. Check and research all the contact details and accreditations you see there. If there are none, then it’s probably a scam. 

7. Never allow yourself to be rushed into a decision. Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’. 

8. Scammers may tell you that your current pension scheme will try to stop you transferring out, suggesting they just want to keep your money. This is not the case. If your Scheme administrators (RPMI) suspect a scam, they have a legal obligation to try to protect your funds.  

9. Never take financial advice from a company that has contacted you out of the blue. Nor should you use an adviser they suggest, as this may be part of the scam. Similarly, if you’re on the phone, a scammer might suggest you ‘call someone else’ to gain your trust. But the scammer doesn’t close the line. You may think you’re on a new call speaking to a trusted adviser, when in fact you’re still speaking to a scammer.

10. Always get impartial information and advice before you take any action with your pension. You can find a list of FCA regulated Independent Financial Advisers in your area at 

For more impartial advice, visit MoneyHelper.  It offers free support on a wide range of financial matters, online and over the phone. This includes pensions, every day money, benefits, savings and money troubles. MoneyHelper brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise. For more information visit