Citizens Advice Bureau warns of rise in pension scams

People aged fifty five and over are being bombarded with cold calls and emails offering bogus pension opportunities the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) has warned. After the Governments’ freedom of choice came into effect for the early draw down of pension funds the CAB has warned that retirees are being targeted by increasingly sophisticated scammers.

An evidence report by the CAB analysed 150 case reported from consumers and said that older victims who fall victim to these scams could be left on the breadline – they reported one case where a retiree had lost £200,000.

The CAB also found that people aged 65 and over are more than twice as likely to be targeted by fraudsters.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of the CAB said ‘ Opportunistic fraudsters are finding new ways to go after people’s pension pots, including offering free pension reviews and promising to invest in funds that don’t necessarily exist.’

Five key types of scam have been identified by the CAB:

  • Fake investment opportunities
  • Offering free advice or services
  • Charging for dodgy services
  • Moving savings to a new pension
  • Obtaining personal information from people

Scammers use multiple ways to contact people – phoning and then sending someone to the house, texting or calling and then following up with letters. The report said that pressure is applied by saying that special offers are for a limited time, or people are offered a ‘tax loophole’. Some scammers claim to be acting on behalf of the client’s pension provider and use official sounding names like the Pensions Service.

Other signs that it’s a scam are if they offer very high rates of return on your money or early access to your pension before you reach the age of 55. Anyone who feels unsure about a cold call or offer they have been made should let someone know and report it to the authorities.

Our  Wills & Tax team based in Christchurch also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Malky or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.