People in the UK are being targeted by scammers who try to persuade them to cash in their pension pot and transfer it to a bogus pension or investment scheme. These types of scams are on the increase since April 2015 when pension law changed to enable people over 55 in defined contribution pension schemes to withdraw their funds. People who are caught out by scams find they have lost their entire pensions savings, often tens of thousands of pounds. Even worse some face tax bills of thousands of pounds because of the way the fraud was set up. In July 2014 the Pensions Regulator reported that £495m had been reported stolen through pension scams. The Government is so concerned about the increase in this type of fraud that it has launched a “don’t get stung” campaign to make people aware of the dangers of scams.
Scammers will try to arouse your interest by offering a “free pension review”, a “once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity” or “the chance to cash in your pension”. They use cold calls, texts, website pop-ups and even door-to-door sales. Their “products” will often be backed up by professional-looking websites and convincing marketing materials promising high returns. The products they claim to offer might be an investment or a transfer to another pension scheme. Once they’ve got you as a potential customer they are prepared to spend a lot of time gaining your confidence and will then pressure you to transfer your funds quickly before you have time to reflect and realise you are being taken in.
Any individual or company that provides financial advice must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Scammers are passing themselves off as financial advisers to gain your trust. A genuine adviser would never attempt to rush you into a decision. It’s simple to check whether an adviser is registered with the FCA at fca.org.uk/register.
Blowfish Financial Services Limited is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (registration number 459256).
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