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Hard hitting scorpion campaign warns pensions savers: Don't be next

Ref: PN16-15
Wednesday 23 March 2016

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) today unveiled a refreshed and hard hitting scorpion campaign to warn of the dangers of pension scams.

The campaign has been revamped to be clearer for savers, who are warned: 'Don’t be next, predators are after your pension' as thousands of people continue to be scammed out of their retirement.

In a new short film produced by TPR, the campaign literally comes to life as an emperor scorpion - the now familiar sign of the campaign - crawls over scam material, providing a stark warning to pension savers.

View the script for this video

The campaign uses true stories of those who have lost their life savings to expose the continuing threat of pension scams.

Backing the campaign, Pensions Minister Ros Altmann said: “Scammers wreck lives and we’re working tirelessly to shut down illegal schemes and bring these criminals to justice.

“Reputable financial organisations will not call you out of the blue, so if someone contacts you about your pension or with offers of a pension 'review' I would suggest just hang up, or delete the email.

“Our advice to anyone who is nearing retirement and wants to talk through their options is to call Pension Wise, our unbiased Government information and guidance service, or contact The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS).”

Lesley Titcomb, Chief Executive at TPR said: “The scorpion campaign has made a real impact by helping scheme trustees and savers spot the hallmarks of a pension scam, but many people are still falling victim to sophisticated pension and investment fraud.

“For the first time in the campaign, information on how to avoid a scam is now separate, focussed and specific for pension savers. We’ve also presented clear steps to guide savers on how to protect themselves.

“Our short film gives a shocking account of how easy it is to lose huge sums of money. It exposes some specific threats such as scams being unwittingly recommended by family and friends, and that scammers often claim to be from government.

“Thousands of people have lost their life savings after falling for a scam. Our message to savers is: Find out how to protect your pension by following our ten-step guide, and don’t be next.”

TPR urges savers to ask TPAS for help and if they suspect they have been scammed to act quickly and let their provider know or call Action Fraud.

Michelle Cracknell, Chief Executive of TPAS said: “As pensions continue to remain firmly in the spotlight, campaigns like the one launched today will continue to help raise consumer awareness and encourage savers to be vigilant of potential pension scams. It’s important that we keep highlighting to consumers the best way to protect their pensions from these opportunists, highlighting the warning signs and making people aware of where they can get help.

“We urge anyone to get in touch with us on 0300 123 1047 if they aren’t sure what they’re being offered or, if they are in the process of transferring their money, to immediately contact their pension provider who may be able to stop the transfer.”

Editor's notes

  1. TPR has worked on the campaign with a taskforce of Government, regulators, financial services bodies and criminal justice agencies (Project Bloom) to disrupt and prevent scams.
  2. TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. We have objectives to: protect members’ benefits; reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

Press contacts

Tim Marks 01273 668092
Matt Adams 01273 662086
pressoffice@thepensionsregulator.gov.uk
www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk

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