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Statement in support of 2016 scams awareness month

Ref: PN16-31
Wednesday 6 July 2016

Andrew Warwick-Thompson, Executive Director at The Pensions Regulator, said: “We welcome the launch of Scams Awareness Month. Anything that draws your attention to the dangers of pension scams can only help protect you. Our main focus is to help prevent you from falling for a scam in the first place; once money has gone into any kind of scam it is very unlikely that either we or anyone else will be able to recover it because, in many cases, it will have disappeared overseas.

“The Scorpion campaign has made a real impact by helping pension scheme trustees and their scheme members spot the hallmarks of a scam, but we won’t let up in our focus in this area. Thousands of people have lost their life savings after falling prey to scammers.

“We lead a taskforce of government, regulators, financial services bodies and criminal justice agencies (Project Bloom) to disrupt and shut down scams. The Bloom members (TPR, HMRC, the FCA, the NCA, Action Fraud, the SFO and others) continue to work together so that the right agency intervenes where appropriate to pursue and bring scammers to book.

“If you think you have come across a scam or a scammer please let us know by contacting Action Fraud. The more information we can gather about scams and scammers the more likely it is that Project Bloom members can take action against them.

“HMRC substantially tightened its registration procedures last year to make it more difficult for scam pension schemes to be established. In Project Bloom we remain particularly concerned about SSASs (small self-administered schemes) being used by scammers who are exploiting this type of scheme’s lighter legislative and regulatory framework. We strongly advise consumers against investing in this kind of esoteric pension scheme without taking advice first from a financial adviser authorised by the FCA.

“Criminal activity is likely to have been a factor in many scams and unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, savers have lost all their money to the criminals. Please don’t be next: protect your pension by following our ten step guide.”

Editor's notes

TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to 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).

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