The pension changes could provide ripe picking for pension scammers. WEALTH at work, a leading provider of financial education in the workplace, supported by guidance and advice share their top tips on how to avoid losing your pension to scams and fraudsters.
- Scams don’t look like scams – Scams look and sound legitimate, which is why people are hoodwinked. They often have very professional looking websites and literature. Whatever you are planning to do with your pensions money, check before you do anything that the company is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- Too good to be true could be too bad for you – If an investment offers the opportunity of a lifetime, run away as fast as you can. It’s likely to be a scam and it’ll be too bad for you if you fall for it.
- You’ve been googled – Legitimate investment companies are very unlikely to cold call. The people that run pension scams are clever and may have been able to get hold of some of your personal details, not just about you, but your local area and interests. Don’t let their knowledge and friendliness take you off guard and allow them to con you.
- Don’t rush to be ripped off – Genuine advisers will never rush you to make a decision. Anything that talks about limited time offers is likely to be too good to be true. Always check with the FCA.
- Facts not fraud – Pensions can normally only be accessed after you reach 55, unless you have seriously ill health. In normal circumstances, if someone promises to release your pension early they are lying, and it is a scam. Make sure you know the fact to avoid the fraudsters.
- Check it out – If you are unsure always contact your employer if it relates to your pension at work, or The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) or Pension Wise for any other kind of pension.
- Help stop the scams – If you think you are being scammed contact TPAS immediately. Not only may they be able to help you, but they will be able to help others from falling for the same scam.
Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director, WEALTH at work, comments, “The crucial thing to remember is that scams don’t look like scams. In our financial education seminars we show adverts from organisations that are ‘too good to be true’ to prove how hard they can be to spot. The rule is, whatever investment you are planning to make, check out the company with the FCA first. If the FCA haven’t heard of them you will have no place to go if they turn out to be fraudsters.”
He continues, “Individuals need to understand that taking regulated advice and getting the consumer protection it offers should not be underestimated”.
For more details, visit the FCA’s ScamSmart website which includes a warning list of companies operating without authorisation or running scams www.scamsmart.fca.org.uk.