30 Nov 2023 | General News
Pension scammers are becoming increasingly inventive in their methods and using modern technology to successfully dupe their victims into parting with their pensions. Scammers usually look and sound credible and are highly knowledgeable about their subject matter, so it’s important to be extra vigilant.
As your Trustee, we want to help make sure you know how to protect yourself from this type of financial threat and keep your pension safe.
Warning signs of a scam
- Surprise contact – Pension cold calling or, in other words, contacting you out of the blue about your pension, is illegal. So there’s a good chance it’s a scam. Another example would be a firm you’ve never dealt with before offering you a free pension review. Avoid!
- Rushing or pressurising you – if you’re being rushed or pressurised into making a fast decision involving your pension or finances, this is a sign that something could be amiss. Take your time to make any decisions and check out the situation fully before you commit, even if it’s suggested that you might ‘miss out’.
- False promises – scammers will often make big claims that aren’t true. For example, guaranteeing high returns from their suggested investments, or having early access to your pension pot. Don’t be lured in by these claims.
- Complexity – often the investment structure, process or language of one of these ‘once in a lifetime opportunities’ will be both complicated and confusing. If it doesn’t really make sense and sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
How to protect yourself
Be cautious and avoid any kind of financial scam by taking the following steps:
- Use the online ‘ScamSmart’ service - provided by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - to help you avoid investment and pension scams. Here you’ll find an interactive tool to check if an investment or pension opportunity is legitimate. Visit the FCA’s ‘ScamSmart’ website.
- Don’t give out any of your personal information – find out who you are dealing with by checking their website and contact details. Use the FCA website to check if they are an authorised firm. Remember, they can look like a genuine company but there could be something unusual about their website or email address, or even the way they ask you to share your details, that indicates a scam.
- Always get impartial advice or information from a reliable source – for pensions this includes known industry bodies like MoneyHelper. If you have a question about your pension, contact your plan administrator, WTW. If you’re considering changing your pension arrangements, you should seek independent financial advice. See our previous news article about the free advice we offer to members of a certain age.
Keeping your personal information safe
You may already be doing these things, but here are some general reminders of other ways you can protect yourself online:
- Ensure you have a strong password to access your pension online – strong passwords are usually made up of random words, numbers, letters or special characters. You should make it unique, memorise it and store it securely.
- Only ever access your pension from a safe and known location, like your computer in your own home. Accessing any financial accounts via a shared server in a public place, or a device that isn’t your own, increases the risk of a scammer hacking your account.
- Never click on anything suspicious looking – delete it immediately and/or report it as possible fraud. You can report it to the FCA or Action Fraud by visiting their websites or giving them a call.