Pension scams

Could you spot a pension scam?

Pension scams are fraudulent schemes that promise high returns or other incentives in exchange for your pension savings or personal information. They’re becoming increasingly common, so it’s important to know the signs.

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Signs of a pension scam

Pensions scams can take many forms, including cold calls, emails, text messages, and online ads. They often use persuasive tactics to convince you to transfer your pension savings to a fraudulent scheme, or to provide personal information such as your bank account details or National Insurance number. Once scammers have access to your pension savings or personal information, they might use it for their own financial gain, leaving you with little or no money for your retirement. Recovering lost funds can be difficult.

Protect yourself from pension scams

Once you know the signs of a pension scam, it can be easier to protect yourself. Here are some of the precautions you can take:

Be wary of unsolicited offers

It’s illegal to make cold calls about pensions. Be cautious if you receive unsolicited calls, emails, or text messages about your pension. Scammers often use these methods to offer you a pension review or investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true.

Don't rush

Don't be pressured into making quick decisions. Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to force you into making decisions before you've had time to think properly.

Watch out for promises of high returns

Be suspicious of anyone promising high returns or guaranteed investments. These are often signs of a scam.

Know the warning signs

Be aware of common warning signs, such as cold calling, offers of free pension reviews, promises of guaranteed returns, and pressure to make a quick decision.

Seek professional advice

If you're not sure about an investment opportunity, seek advice from an independent financial adviser or speak to Pension Wise, which offers free and impartial guidance. If you're worried about a pension transfer that’s already taking place, contact your pension provider immediately.

Additional resources

Here are some resources to help you protect yourself from pension scams and information about where you can report them.

  • The Financial Conduct Authority

    The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) offers lots of hints and tips on how to avoid being scammed, and you can check if a company is registered with the FCA on its Financial Services Register.

  • Action Fraud

    If you think you’ve been scammed, you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

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