Could you spot a pension scam?

Pension scams are fraudulent schemes that promise high returns or other incentives in exchange for your pension savings or personal information. Such schemes are becoming increasingly common, so it’s essential to be aware of them to avoid falling victim.

These scams can take many forms, including cold calls, emails, text messages, and online ads. They often use persuasive tactics to convince you to transfer your pension savings to a fraudulent scheme, or to provide personal information such as your bank account details or National Insurance number.

Once scammers have access to your pension savings or personal information, they may use it for their own financial gain, leaving you with little or no money for your retirement. Recovering lost funds can be difficult, if not impossible.

To protect yourself from pension scams, you should be cautious of unsolicited contact, avoid giving out personal information, and always check the credentials of any financial adviser or company offering pension-related services. You should also be wary of promises of high returns or pressure to make quick decisions.

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from pension scams:

  1. Be wary of unsolicited offers: It is illegal to cold call about pensions. Be cautious if you receive unsolicited calls, emails, or text messages about your pension. Scammers often use these methods to offer you a pension review or investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true.
  2. Check credentials: Always check that any company or individual you are thinking of dealing with is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can do this by using the FCA's register or by calling their consumer helpline.
  3. Don't rush: Don't be pressured into making a quick decision. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to force you into making a decision before you've had time to think it through properly.
  4. Watch out for promises of high returns: Be suspicious of anyone promising high returns or guaranteed investments. These are often signs of a scam.
  5. Know the warning signs: Be aware of common warning signs, such as cold calling, offers of free pension reviews, promises of guaranteed returns, and pressure to make a quick decision.
  6. Seek professional advice: If you're unsure about an investment opportunity, seek advice from an independent financial advisor or speak to Pension Wise, which offers free and impartial guidance.

By following these steps, you can protect yourself from pension scams and ensure that your retirement savings are safe.

If you suspect you have been targeted by a pension scam, you should report it immediately to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or Action Fraud.