TV Celebrity Falls For £1m Pension Scam

Offshore pension scams costing savers up to £4 billion a year are set to become the next big financial scandal, claims a former minister.

A well-known TV celebrity is reportedly one of thousands of retirement savers duped into handing over their lifetime savings by con-men.

The TV star was persuaded to invest around £1 million into an offshore pension scheme which is feared to have collapsed.

Pension reforms put in place by former Chancellor George Osborne are blamed for some of the mess.

The reforms allow anyone over the age of 55 years old to take some or all their pension savings.

Financial scandal

Many people are lured to reinvest the cash in high-risk offshore schemes like hardwood plantations, resorts and hotels or green energy projects.

The salesmen promise higher than average returns, but once the money is transferred offshore, the crooks and the cash disappear.

Baroness Altmann, a former pensions minister, told The Times: “Pension scams have the potential to be the next big financial scandal.

“Regulators have failed to respond with adequate urgency and are leaving consumers at the mercy of fraudsters. The fallout risks putting younger people off pensions altogether.”

Consumer watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority has an online tool helping investors to identify likely scams.

Scam warning signs

“If you’re contacted out of the blue about an investment opportunity, chances are it’s a high-risk investment or a scam,” says the FCA.

​​​​“Scammers usually cold-call but contact can also come by email, post, word of mouth or at a seminar or exhibition. Scams are often advertised online too.

“If you get cold-called, the safest thing to do is to hang up. If you get unexpected offers by email or text, it’s best to simply ignore them.”

Warning signs of a scam include bonus or discount offers to invest within a short time limit and the offer of better returns than offered elsewhere.

More than 20 popular scams are listed on the FCA ScamSmart web site.

The FCA recommends checking out the adviser’s credentials with the financial services register, rather than believing mocked-up web sites, brochures and testimonials which look convincing but are really part of an elaborate fraud.

Stay Connected

Latest News

Non Resident Landlord Scheme Explained for Expats

The UK Non-Resident Landlord Scheme (NRLS) is the way HM Revenue & Customs collects tax on rents from property owners who spend...

OECD Explained

The Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) is a forum for the governments of 37 developed countries to discuss economic and...

QROPS List – June 1, 2020

The number of Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) across 28 countries has hit 1,917 – with 13 opening during the past...

FATCA List – June 2020

The US Internal Revenue Service’s list of foreign financial institutions (FFI) reporting under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) increased by 1,854...

Economic Impact Payments for US Expats

The US government is paying millions of dollars into the bank accounts of American expats as coronavirus economic impact payments and this guide will...

HMRC Explained

HMRC is short for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. The HMRC collects the taxes and customs duties that the British government spends...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here