Your pension is likely to be worth a considerable amount of money - which is why so many fraudsters and con artists would like to get their hands on it. They may try to do this by luring you in with the promise of high returns on investments which, in reality, either simply don’t exist, or are extremely high-risk with low returns. Here are some tips to help you spot and avoid possible scams.
Be suspicious of people who call you out of the blue
It is very unlikely that a reputable company would make unsolicited phone calls. You should also beware of people who contact you by phone or text offering to undertake a pension review for you on behalf of a government-backed body like Pension Wise.
Steer clear of overseas investment deals
Common scam types involve unregulated investments in things like hotels and vineyards or other opportunities in overseas locations where you have no consumer protection. They also usually involve putting all your money in just one investment, which puts it at greater risk.
Check everything carefully
Never just rely on the recommendation of a friend. Always check the Financial Conduct Authority register to make sure an adviser or company you are considering working with is registered. And be sure to read any paperwork carefully before signing. If there is anything you don’t fully understand, don’t proceed.
Get your current scheme to check the new one
If you are considering transferring your pension, get your current provider to check the new scheme's HMRC registration. That way you’ll know whether it’s legitimate or not.
Be extremely wary of a ‘guaranteed return’
If a company offers you guaranteed returns on your investment, be extremely wary. Cross-check any suggested guaranteed investments on the Financial Conduct Authority register.
Don’t be fooled by a smart website and literature
It is very easy to build a professional-looking website and to print some glossy literature. These things are not proof that an organisation is legitimate. The advice is, never judge a book by its cover.
Are you being rushed into a decision?
Fraudsters often attempt to pressure victims into making an immediate decision. A reputable company is unlikely to do this. Always take time to research, understand and mull over any big investment decisions before acting.
If you suspect foul play, act quickly
If you think you may have been tricked into transferring your pension to a scammer make sure you contact your pension provider straight away, as they may be able to stop the transfer going through. You should also report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Look out for known scams
If you have been approached with an investment opportunity, check it against the FCA’s Warning List of known scams. You will find the list on the FCA’s ScamSmart page, which also features various other tips to help you spot and avoid scams.