Pension fraudsters are stepping up their efforts to persuade retirement savers to hand over their life savings, according to one of Britain’s largest pension providers.
At least one in four adults have had a telephone cold call, email or other unsolicited contact from scammers – with two thirds of the activity reported in the past six months.
Retirement savers are on the receiving end of a constant barrage of attempts by crooks to snatch their cash.
Almost two-thirds of savers approached by fraudsters were contacted by phone, one in four were sent an email and one in five a letter.
The fraudsters persuaded 7% of savers to hand over some of their savings, while most who suspected a scam did not report the contact because they did not know who to talk to.
The data was collected by pension firm Phoenix Group, which has 6.1 million customers and holds £74 billion of assets for financial brands such as AXA Wealth, SunLife and Abbey Life.
Scam prevention by the firm stopped £30 million of suspected scam transfers.
The research also revealed 14% of people receiving scam calls had contacted crooks and another 15% had considered getting in touch but failed to do so.
“Fraudsters use a myriad of methods to reach and trick their victims, including face to face contact, online marketing, texting, social media and email,” said Philip Kline, the Intelligence and Investigations Manager at Phoenix.
“To properly tackle this and significantly reduce the amount of pensions-related fraud, Phoenix believes that the government’s proposal to ban pension cold calling should be extended to include all forms of electronic communications such as email and text messaging.”
Make complaining easier
The government is considering a ban on telephone cold calling to slash the number of scam calls to pension savers, but Phoenix wants the ban extended to any form of electronic messaging, such as email or texts.
Kline is also calling on the government to make complaining about scammers easier.
“Fraud is growing in the pension industry and fraudsters’ methods are constantly evolving to take advantage of the new freedoms and economic trends to target pension savers,” he said.
“Reporting fraud needs to be simple, quick and easy, and that consumers should be given greater education on the risks of fraud to ensure that they are able to better protect themselves.”