The ban on pension cold calling has finally come in to effect.
Making unsolicited calls to consumers about pensions are illegal from January 9.
Companies breaking the rules face fines of up to £500,000.
Research by the government’s Money Advice Service revealed fraudsters were making 8 scam calls every second – the equivalent of 250 million crooked calls a year.
John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Pension scammers are the lowest of the low. They rob savers of their hard-earned retirement and devastate lives. We know that cold-calling is the pension scammers’ main tactic, which is why we’ve made them illegal.
Scammers steal £91,000 from each victim
“If you receive an unwanted call from an unknown caller about your pension, get as much information you can and report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office. I’d also urge all savers to seek independent advice if you’re thinking about making an important financial decision.”
Financial watchdogs claim fraudsters stole an average of £91,000 from each victim last year.
Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said: “Pension scams are despicable crimes, fleecing people of the retirement they’ve earned by doing the right thing, working hard and saving for the future. Banning pensions cold-calling will protect people from these callous crooks and ensure fraudsters feel the full force of the law.”
The cold calling ban still lets pension providers and advisers talk to their customers about their finances.
If consumers still receive a pension cold call, they should take the name and contact details of the company involved and pass them to the Information Commissioner either by calling 0303 123 3113 or completing an online form.
New tactics warning
Some financial experts say the ban does not go far enough.
Alistair Wilson, of pension provider Zurich, said: “Even with the protection of the law, consumers can’t afford to let down their guard as pension fraudsters are likely to evolve new tactics to sidestep the ban.
“Overseas calls are not covered by the clampdown, presenting a potential loophole for scammers operating from overseas. For the ban to be effective, it needs to be backed by a vigorous and ongoing awareness-raising campaign. This will help to hammer home the message to consumers that any call they receive about their pension out of the blue is a scam.”