How to spot a pension scam

New research shows two in five pension savers would fall for a common scam tactic and those who consider themselves financially savvy are as likely to be duped as anyone else. Cold-calls, exotic investments and early access to cash are among the most persuasive tactics used by fraudsters.

The results are from a quiz run by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator as part of their ScamSmart campaign to warn the public about fraudsters targeting people’s retirement savings.

For the survey more than 2,000 savers aged 45-65 were presented with the following six ploys that fraudsters often use on unsuspecting victims:    

  • Offer exotic investment opportunities such as overseas property, renewable energy, bonds, forestry, biofuels or storage units
  • Calls out of the blue from a company asking to discuss their pension plans.This is despite a new ban on cold-calling people about pensions which began in January this year
  • Offering early access to your pension pot before you are 55
  • Guaranteed high returns on your pension pot
  • Offering to review your pension for free
  • Time limited offers on special deals and offer of a courier to deliver paperwork for immediate signature

The regulators recommend four simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams:

  1. Reject unexpected pension offers whether made online, on social media or over the phone
  2. Check who you are dealing with before changing your pension arrangements – check the FCA Register or call the FCA contact centre on 0800 111 6768 to see if the firm you are dealing with is authorised by the FCA
  3. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making any decision about your pension
  4. Consider getting impartial information and advice

For more information and to take the ScamSmart quiz yourself visit



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