One of Britain’s chief financial consumer watchdogs has been cold-called by claims management lawyers trying to convince her to complain about a possible mis-sold pension transfer.
Michelle Cracknell revealed two different firms have been in touch with her in a recent address to the Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG).
Cracknell is responsible for overseeing investigations into the mis-selling of pensions as chief executive of regulator The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS).
In her talk, Cracknell explained the latest tactics some law firms are harnessing to persuade clients to use their service.
“Claim management companies are contacting people through texts to say that you mentioned pensions on your Facebook account, and they think you have been a victim of a transfer that was incorrect,” she said.
Social media accounts targeted
Cracknell then admitted that she had received two such messages.
She also explained that some claim management companies were suspected of selling personal information about their clients to financial advisers offering scam pension liberation advice.
Now, said Cracknell, TPAS believes many are cross-checking social media accounts for references of keywords, such as pension, before contacting names on their books to offer a free pension review.
She also highlighted a recent TPAS case involving a retirement saver who had received £36,000 compensation for a mis-sold pension transfer won by a claims management company.
Cracknell explained winning the case had cost the saver £6,000 in fees to the claim management company.
Code to tackle scammers
The plight of British Steel workers plagued by pension transfer advisers was also raised by Cracknell.
She told the PSIG meeting that many were receiving calls from claims management companies as their Facebook accounts were rippled with the word ‘pensions’ because they had so many online discussions about what to do with their retirement cash when the group scheme changed earlier this year.
The PSIG meeting was promoting the launch of an updated industry code of practice to protect retirement savers from scammers and fraudsters.
Chair Margaret Snowdon said: “Scammers spend time grooming their victims, so we encourage schemes to speak with members to fully understand their situation and refer insistent customers to TPAS, who can explain the risks of scamming from an impartial standpoint.”