Unfortunately, pensions are a product that are often a target of scammers. That is why we strongly recommend that you are vigilant of any contact you receive regarding your pension. We want to help you avoid falling into common traps and to keep you safe, so have highlighted some key points for you to consider.
- Treat all unexpected calls, texts, letters and emails with caution. If a company contacts you regarding your pension that you have not heard of before, please disregard this.
- You should only receive advice from a firm that is authorised to provide advice in the country in which you live. In the UK, these financial advice firms are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can find out if a company is authorised here www.register.fca.org.uk/.
- You may be offered a free pension review – there is no such thing. Regulated financial advice firms will charge a fee for proper advice that is set by strict guidelines.
- If you do transfer money to pensions these companies offer, it is unlikely to be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and there is no guarantee that you will receive all your money back, if at all.
- Be wary of unusual investments that promise higher returns than your existing investments. Common investment scams have included: forestry, overseas property and renewable energy.
- You can normally only access your pension before the age of 55 if you are in serious ill health. Other offers of access before the age of 55 are against UK pension and tax rules. This is known as pension liberation and will result in substantial tax liabilities and fines.
- Please be wary of Claims Management Companies (CMCs) who also contact you out of the blue offering to make complaints on your behalf. These companies work on commission and will take a fee for any compensation they help you to obtain. If you wish to make a complaint about your pension provider or financial adviser in the UK, you can do this for free to the company itself or through the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. These are independent bodies who provide guidance on what to do.
- If you have any concerns at all regarding scams or cold calling, please contact us and we can investigate this on your behalf. We are here to protect the interests of our members.
You can find more information on pension scams through various regulatory and independent body websites. We have listed some of these below: