When the financially savvy risk having their retirement savings scammed
New figures show cold calls, exotic investments and early access to Pension Savings to be among the most persuasive tactics used by fraudsters.
Often victims do not know they have been targeted until it is too late. As these are not petty thieves, but sophisticated fraudsters using clever tactics to appear legitimate.
It is no surprise that at a time when savers have more flexibility than ever before over their pensions, scammers are targeting people’s retirement pots. new research suggests that 42% of pension savers, which would equate to over 5 million people across the UK, could be at risk of falling for at least one of six common tactics used by pension scammers, these are:
- Pension cold calls
- Free pension reviews
- Claims of guaranteed high returns
- Exotic investments
- Time-limited offers
- Early access of cash before age 55
The research also found that those who consider themselves smart or financially savvy are just as likely to be persuaded by these tactics as anyone else. The scammers have one aim – to rip people off.
Pension savers were tempted by offers of high returns in investments such as overseas property, renewable energy bonds, forestry, storage units or biofuels. However, exotic or unusual investments are high-risk and unlikely to be suitable for pension savings.
Helping savers to access their pensions early also proved to be a persuasive scam tactic. One in six 45-54-year-old pension savers said they would be interested in an offer from a company that claimed it could help them get early access to their pension. However, accessing your pension before 55 is likely to result in a large tax bill and you could wipe out the full value of your Pension Savings.
Last year, 180 people reported to Action Fraud that they had been the victim of a pension scam, loosing on average £82,000 each. The true number of victims is likely to be higher as scams often go unreported and those affected may not realise, they have been scammed for several years.
Working together on this we can defeat the fraudsters. If you have any suspicion of being potentially targeted by scurrilous criminals, it’s safer to speak to your adviser and contact Steve Speed for peace of mind. If Steve is not currently your adviser then feel free to get in touch with us for clarity.
If anything appears too good to be true it generally is. It is worth seeking Independent Financial Advice before you commit, and it becomes too late to pull out of a dodgy deal or too late for regulators or Enforcement Officers to claw back lost money.
Jason Norton – Operations Manager