20th August 2018

Protect yourself from pension scams

Find out how pension scams work, how to avoid them and what to do if you suspect a scam

Pension scams can be hard to spot. Scammers can be articulate and financially knowledgeable, with credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing.

How pension scams work

Scammers usually contact people out of the blue via phone, email or text, or even advertise online. Scammers will make false claims to gain your trust. For example:

Scammers design attractive offers to persuade you to transfer your pension pot to them (or to release funds from it). It is often then invested in unusual and high-risk investments like overseas property, renewable energy bonds, forestry, storage units, or simply stolen outright.

Scam offers often include:

Four simple steps to protect yourself from pension scams

Step 1 - Reject unexpected offers

If you’re contacted out of the blue about a pension opportunity, chances are it’s high risk or a scam. If you get a cold call about your pension, the safest thing to do is to hang up. If you get unsolicited offers via email or text you should simply ignore them. Fortunately, most people do reject unsolicited offers – FCA research suggests that 95% of unexpected pension offers are rejected.

Be wary of offers of free pension reviews. Professional advice on pensions is not free – a free offer out of the blue from a company you have not dealt with before is probably a scam.

And don’t be talked into something by someone you know. They could be getting scammed, so check everything yourself.

Step 2 - Check who you’re dealing with

Step 3 - Don’t be rushed or pressured

Take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an ‘amazing deal’. Be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true and don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision.

Step 4 - Get impartial information or advice

You should seriously consider seeking financial guidance or advice before changing your pension arrangements:

If you suspect a scam, report it

Be ScamSmart with your pension. To find out more, visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart