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Pension scam busting campaign hits over 100 pledges

Ref: PN20-34

Issued: Wednesday 23 December 2020

A scam-busting campaign calling on the pensions industry to commit to six key saver-protecting actions has seen more than 100 pledges since its launch.   

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) launched its latest anti-scam campaign on 10 November, calling on administrators, providers and trustees to play their part in stopping fraudsters and signing up to the pledge to combat pension scams.

A month on from the campaign’s launch, 117 pledges have been made, including three master trusts, which alone represent 50,000 savers.

A further 37 of those that pledged have also self-certified to confirm they have adopted stringent practices on due diligence, member warnings and reporting scams demanded by the pledge campaign.

To make the pledge trustees, providers and administrators agree to:

  1. regularly warn members of the risk of scams
  2. encourage those requesting cash drawdown to call The Pensions Advisory Service for free, impartial guidance
  3. learn the warning signs of a scam and best practice for transfers
  4. take appropriate due diligence measures and document pension transfer procedures
  5. clearly communicate concerns to members if high-risk transfers must be made
  6. report concerns about a scam to the authorities and communicate this to the member.

Nicola Parish, TPR’s Executive Director of Frontline Regulation, said: “Pension scammers wreck lives and we’re determined to stop them in their tracks.

“Our campaign offers the pensions industry the opportunity to play its part in the battle against scammers. More than 100 pledges in just one month is an impressive start. But we aren’t complacent.

“We urge every trustee, administrator and provider who has not pledged to do so and fulfil their duty to protect savers, understand scam tactics and adopt transfer due diligence best practice.”

Trustee Toolkit

As part of the campaign, TPR also launched its Trustee Toolkit scams module, which has seen 1,220 take-ups.

The module helps trustees, administrators and providers:

  • identify the common warning signs of a pension scam
  • define expectations about communicating regular scams warnings to members, both ongoing and when triggered by events such as a transfer request
  • understand the questions they can ask members to help protect them from scammers
  • describe what constitutes appropriate and proportionate due diligence on transfers.

Trustees, advisers and providers can sign up to the pledge through the TPR website.

Notes to editors

1. Steps to make the pledge:

  • trustees, administrators and providers can sign up to the pledge through a dedicated website to show their commitment to combat pension scams
  • pledgers will use our resources and online education tools to understand what they can do to protect savers
  • when the six pledge steps are met, pledgers can self-certify that they have taken action and abide by the pledge principles

2. Pledge resources:

  • access to the Trustee Toolkit scams module
  • online – a campaign webpage outlines the principles and expectations and asks industry to make the pledge, supporting  them with the necessary information to improve standards.

3. Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG) Code of Good Practice on combating pension scams: PSIG, the voluntary body set up to combat pension scams through the publication of a Code of Good Practice in due diligence for trustees, providers and administrators, first published its code in 2015 with the key steps to help identify possible pension scams, as well as providing practical guidance such as checklists and sample letters. The latest version of the code has been published to reflect a new world of scamming and changes to the market and scammers’ tactics.

4. More than £30 million has been reportedly lost to pension scammers since 2017, according to complaints filed with Action Fraud. Scammers target pension pots big and small, with reported losses ranging from under £1,000 to as much as £500,000 per saver. While the average victims are men in their fifties, evidence shows they can happen to anyone.

5. The Pensions Regulator 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).

Press contacts

Dan Menhinnitt

Media Officer
pressoffice@tpr.gov.uk
01273 349511

Matt Adams

Senior Media and Parliamentary Manager
pressoffice@tpr.gov.uk
01273 662086

Out of hours

This is for journalists only with a media enquiry. The below number will divert to our on call media officer.
pressoffice@tpr.gov.uk
01273 648496

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