Scammers target 1 In 10 Retirement Savers

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One in 10 over 55s believe a scammer has targeted them to steal their retirement cash.

The most common tactic is an offer to unlock or transfer pension funds linked to a free review, says the research by financial firm Prudential.

But the fraudsters do not tell retirement savers about the fees involved or the risk of huge tax penalties.

The firm wanted to know how pension freedoms introduced in April 2015 had impacted consumers.

One in three felt fraud was a major concern, but half approached by suspected crooks did not report the incident because they did not know who to contact or did not know official agencies investigated possible pension frauds.

Hidden victims

ActionFraud, the police unit dealing with pension scams, has handled 991 crime reports since April 2015 involving £22.68 million.

The Pru research highlighted only 18% of pension savers approached by scammers had told the authorities about their experience – which could mean the real figures are much higher than those recorded by the police suggest.

Almost a third of retirement savers approached by fraudsters were offered alternative investments, such as fine wines, while one in five were tempted with overseas investments and one in eight with investing in cryptocurrencies.

One in six feared they were victims of a scam.

Fraud warning signs

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “Pension freedoms, though enormously popular with consumers, have created a potentially lucrative opportunity for fraudsters and people need to be vigilant to safeguard their hard-earned retirement savings.

“If it sounds too good to be true then it usually is, and people should be sceptical of investments that are offering unusually high rates of return or which invest in unorthodox products which may be difficult to understand. If in any doubt, seeking independent advice from regulated professional advisers will help ensure they won’t get caught out.

“The Pensions Advisory Service, Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator are doing good work raising awareness of the risks of scamming and by reporting suspected scams consumers can help the authorities tackle the issue and maintain confidence in pension freedoms.”

If pension scammers have contacted you, tell the authorities – contact ActionFraud on 0300 123 1047 or online

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