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Over a third of over 55s targeted by pension scammers

The figure is an increase of 18 per cent from just eight months ago and represents 'a new trend'

18 February 2016

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One in three people (35 per cent) aged 55 and over have been approached by potential pension scammers in the last three months.

The data comes from Retirement Advantage, who carried out the same research in June 2015 and found that only one in five people aged over 50 had been approached by potential scammers offering free advice and guidance.

The new pension freedoms have given millions of savers access to a new source of readily available money and scam artists are targeting this group of people.

Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at Retirement Advantage, described the problem as a 'new trend'.

'It's a huge concern that many more people are telling us they have been approached by companies offering free pension reviews or investment opportunities. This seems to be the start of a trend so it is crucial people are alert to the possibility that scammers may get in touch.

'It is clear there are unscrupulous people preying on certain groups, using increasingly sophisticated and convincing ways of trying to defraud large amounts of cash from people's pensions. We all need to be on constant guard: if an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.'

The government's free pension guidance service, Pension Wise, has largely failed to deliver guidance and inform savers of their position, as so few savers are aware of its existence.

In the first three months after the launch of the service in April 2015, of the 200,000 people who accessed their pension, only 20,000 people received guidance from Pension Wise.

Retirement advantage has highlighted five things to watch out for:

  1. An offer to help you access your pension savings before age 55;

  2. A recommendation to take a large amount of money, or your whole pension pot, in a lump sum and invest it;

  3. Warnings that the deal is limited and you must act now;

  4. You are discouraged from seeking professional financial advice or talking to Pension Wise or The Pensions Advisory Service; and

  5. Contact by somebody who is not on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Register.

 

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Pensions