Falling victim to pension fraud is a real occurrence that can happen to anyone. And the scary part is that you don’t have to be retired or near retirement age for scammers to target you with attractive offers that trick you into handing over your hard-earned life savings.
While the chances of being targeted are slim, frauds are harder than ever to spot, so it pays to remain alert. The following information will discuss the top tips for avoiding pension scams and how to identify them.
How To Identify a Pension Scam
Being vigilant means that you’re always cautious with whom you’re sharing private information. But some fraudsters are so good at what they do that they may convince you to start talking. Here are some scenarios to watch out for and avoid at all costs:
Let’s face it, honest financial advisers don’t beg for your business. So, if you receive a cold text message, call, or visit to your home, it’s likely a scam. Some of these people may even act as if they’re returning your call; thus, you must check to ensure the provider is registered with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) before moving forward.
If someone offers you access to your pension before you turn 55 years old and you’re not in very poor health, it’s probably a scam. Beware of terms such as early pension release (or access), pension loans, pension liberation, “cashing” in your pension, or selling your pension. Regardless of the name, trying to get money from your pension before age 55 is nearly impossible and reserved for only extraordinary circumstances.
Much like fraudsters pretend to be returning your call, some will act as if they are a pension provider or even your bank. During these calls, the person will explain that there’s an issue with your account requiring you to relocate your money elsewhere. If you think the person is genuine, ask for their name and inform them that you’ll be calling right back at the official bank phone number - just don’t use the number they provide.
The Golden Rule For Avoiding Pension Scams
Ultimately, you should never accept pension advice from anyone other than a financial adviser whom you hired or were matched with using pension-tracing-service system. Always ensure that the adviser is FCA-regulated, qualified, and legitimate. But, never become tempted by unsolicited contact or cold calls of any kind. If someone contacts you randomly, they probably have more to gain from the communication than you do!
If you have been the target or victim of a pension scam, call the FCA at 0800 111 6768, and for those who have lost money, contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040. Always remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is!