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Use your eyes and ears to avoid pension scams, TPR warns

Ref: PN17-59
Monday 16 October 2017

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has launched new online messaging urging consumers to keep their eyes and ears open for pension scams.

One of the new pieces of animation being circulated by TPR via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube reminds viewers to watch out for scam sites that dress themselves up with anti-scam messaging to pose as legitimate businesses.

The second focuses on the need to hang up immediately on pension cold callers.

TPR leads Project Bloom, a multi-agency taskforce which is working with government, the pensions industry, law enforcement agencies and other regulators to combat pension scams.

Mike Broomfield, TPR’s Head of Intelligence, said:

“Scammers are always developing new ways to try to get their hands on people’s pensions so everyone needs to be on the look out for potential traps.

“Calling pension scheme members out of the blue and creating impressive-looking websites to snare potential prey are two methods they use to separate victims from their funds.

“We need consumers to help us find and stop scams. We can all use our eyes and ears to spot the scammers before they can profit at our expense.”

The online messaging is TPR’s latest weapon in the fight against scams.

Between July and the beginning of October, TPR’s Industry Liaison team travelled around the country meeting financial advisers in every region of England and in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man to spread the warning about fraudsters.

They spoke to hundreds of advisers at events organised by the Personal Finance Society (PFS) to help them prevent their clients falling victim to scammers.

Feedback for the events has been wholeheartedly positive, with many advisers saying that they will be sending out fresh messages to their clients to remind them of the threat of scams.

Chris Peters, from Dorset-based Ward Goodman, listened to the TPR team at a PFS event in Southampton.

He said: “We do a lot of AE work so it’s vital that we are up to date on the latest scam trends so we can keep our clients’ funds safe from criminals.

“The session on scams was really informative and will help us give the right advice to let our clients stay one step ahead of the scammers.”

The TPR team spoke at a total of 26 PFS events, with the final one in the series in Douglas on the Isle of Man on 3 October.

At each venue they highlighted the warning signs of scams, how advisers can ensure their clients don’t fall victim to them and what to do if they think one of their clients has been scammed.

Visit pension-scams.com for tips on how you can prevent yourself, your friends and your family from becoming a victim. This includes an online scam-spotting tool for those considering investing their pension pot, help to report scams and a quick five-step guide to help savers protect themselves with practical tips and questions to consider.

Editor's notes

  1. Five signs of a scam to be aware of are:
    • a free pension review
    • the promise of guaranteed returns on your investment
    • low tax / tax-free rates, including tax-free lump sums
    • exotic sounding and / or overseas investments
    • pressure to sign up quickly to avoid missing out
  2. 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 TPR’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

Press contacts

James Glover 01273 662098

pressoffice@thepensionsregulator.gov.uk

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