Pension scammers have come up with a new way to snare retirement savers by giving them a script with what to say to avoid providers blocking their money moves.
The crooks argue pension firms will put obstacles in the way of a transfer to keep the money for themselves.
Retirement savers are also told to lie about switching their money to a SIPPS or QROPS with offshore investments so firms do not stop them accessing higher returns or tax benefits.
But the new tactics are really designed to stop fraud victims finding out about crooked deals from genuine advisers, claims financial giant Aegon.
The firm says customers are repeating objections and obscure technical terms from scripts given to them by scammers when advisers point out they may be victims of a fraud.
Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “Scams continue to evolve to persuade people to take action they otherwise wouldn’t dream of. Pensions have become a honeypot for fraudsters who are always looking for innovative ways to part savers from their hard-earned pensions.
“One of the latest techniques is ‘pension grooming’, where fraudsters instruct individuals on how to respond to pension providers when concerns about suspicious transfers are raised.
“Customers are being reassured by the fraudster and are being told to disregard everything pension providers say and that our only motive is not to protect their savings, but to keep hold of their money.
“Another sign is when customers use technical language that pension providers would not normally expect them to use.”
What the fraudsters say
Aegon says the typical phrases pension fraudsters say include:
- The offer won’t last long
- You’re entitled to a free government review
- You’ll make a better return by investing in storage units/forests/overseas property
- There’s a guaranteed 7 per cent return
- We’ll send a courier over with your documents
- Can you sign quickly – I’m parked on a double yellow line
- There’s a legal loophole
- You’re a sophisticated investor
- It’s free
- Your pension company might try to talk you out of it – they just want to keep your money
To combat the strategy, The Pensions Regulator is setting up a free and independent transfer hotline for retirement savers with scam concerns.