According to Action Fraud, criminals are using technology to target retirement funds through seemingly credible websites, testimonials and cold calls, in an attempt to get their hands on hard-earned pension pots.
The UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime has issued a warning about these high-pressure tactics and the offer of rewards, including the promise of valuable services which usually cost to access.
According to Action Fraud, fraudsters will usually contact people out of the blue via phone, email or text, or even advertise online. They design attractive offers to persuade the pension holder to transfer your pension pot to them or to release funds from it.
If they manage to get access to the pension, they then often invest it in unusual and high-risk investments, such as overseas property, renewable energy bonds, forestry, storage units. Conversely, they might invest in more conventional products, but within an unnecessarily complex structure which hides multiple fees and high charges. In the worst cases, they just steal the money.
The ‘offers’ these scammers dangle in front of unsuspecting pensioners can include a ‘free pension review’, higher returns on pension savings or an offer to help the individual release cash from their pension pot.
It is important to note that anyone who suggests the latter to a person under the age of 55 – the age when people can legally take a cash advance on their pension – is almost certainly a fraudster.
As Action Fraud points out, there are a number of ways the individual can protect themselves, such as by rejecting offers that have come out of the blue and checking the Financial Services Register to ensure that the person offering the advice is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).