Pension watchdogs have released an online tool that helps retirement savers spot if a scammer is after their cash.
The checklist reveals the five most popular tricks fraudsters use to try and lure their victims.
The Pensions Regulator warns that thousands of people have already lost their life savings to scammers – and many more may be victims but don’t know yet because they have no idea their money has been stolen until they check their funds.
The tell-tale pension scam signs are:
- A bogus financial adviser offering a free pension review
- Guaranteed better than expected returns on an investment
- Low or no tax on investments and a tax-free lump sum for signing up to the deal
- Overseas opportunities such as hotels, holiday resorts or other exotic sounding investments
- Pressure to sign quickly
Millions conned from retirement savers
“If your deal comes with any of these suspicious promises, it has the hallmarks of a scam,” said a TPR spokesman.
“If you have already signed paperwork, contact your existing pension provider straight away and tell them you believe you have been scammed and then contact the police through the Action Fraud web site.”
In May, the City of London Police released statistics that showed pension liberation fraudsters have made off with £42 million since April 2014.
The regulator warns that any investor contacted out of the blue by a financial adviser should just hang up the phone or ignore any messages.
Latest tricks from the fraudsters
“Unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails about your pension are almost always scams,” said the TPR spokesman.
“Scammers often claim they are from government bodies, but these organisations would never phone or text to offer a pension review.
“Beware of investments with guaranteed returns as they often talk about deals that keeps your money tied to one place and more at risk. Ignore time-limited offers or attempts to get you to sign up by sending paperwork by courier.”
Scammers also pose as bogus financial advisers with fancy web sites and brochures to trick you into believing they are properly licensed and regulated. Always check out their credentials with the Financial Conduct Authority – if they are a proper firm, they will be registered.