Later Life

Pension savers lose £30m to scams: FCA

Rozi Jones
26th August 2020
call centre pension scam cold phone
"In the context of pensions, a single action by a victim can result in the shattering of their retirement dreams"

A total of £30,857,329 has been lost to pension scammers since 2017 according to complaints filed with Action Fraud, the FCA has announced.

Reported losses ranging from under £1,000 to as much as £500,000 and the average victim is a man in his 50s.

But the FCA says the true number of victims is likely to be much higher as savers fail to spot the signs of a scam and don’t know how much is in their pots.

Research from the FCA and the Pensions Regulator found that just 43% know how much is in their pot and nearly half (45%) don't how to check if an approach about their pension is legitimate.

Overconfidence could be an issue with nearly two thirds (65%) saying they’d be confident in spotting a scam approach. But 4 in 10 (39%) would put themselves at risk unknowingly by engaging with a common scam tactic such as being told it’s a time-limited offer, or that there is a guaranteed high return on their savings.

Mark Turner, managing director in Duff & Phelps’ compliance and regulatory consulting practice, commented: “Scammers are becoming more sophisticated in their techniques, particularly in the digital age. In the context of pensions, a single action by a victim can result in the shattering of their retirement dreams with a huge knock-on impact to the financial security of them and their families.

“We also know that scammers are taking advantage of the Covid-19 situation. The old adage that ‘if something is too good to be true it probably isn’t’, is easy to say with the benefit of hindsight - but it is hard to undo the damage once it has been done.

“It is therefore timely that the FCA is seeking to reach out directly to the public with a targeted campaign that is aiming to reach individuals that might otherwise be hard for them to connect with. This forms part of a recent sustained effort by the FCA to help the public make informed decisions and is to be commended.”

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