Personal Pension  

Pension fraud numbers fall but scam sums increase

Pension fraud numbers fall but scam sums increase

Pension liberation cases reported to the police have fallen over the last five months, but increasingly sophisticated criminals are targeting larger scams, according to new statistics.

The City of London Police’s February figures revealed that just 12 cases of liberation fraud were reported during the month.

From a high in September of 77 cases, the numbers fell dramatically to only eight brought to the police the following month.

Article continues after advert

However, while the most recent 12 months of data showed just over a third of the number of cases reported, compared with the previous 12 months, the amounts taken from savers increased.

During the year to February 2015 there was £10.5m worth of fraud reported, but the following 12 months saw £13.2m of scams brought to the police, despite the fact these sums were generated by 640 cases, rather than 1,883 cases in the previous 12 months.

Month

No. of Reports

Loss (Using 'Payment Amount')

Jun-15

85

£547,318

Jul-15

74

£1,358,235

Aug-15

50

£1,340,040

Sep-15

77

£1,355,119

Oct-15

8

£85,223

Nov-15

27

£483,621

Dec-15

25

£262,170

Jan-16

44

£599,600

Feb-16

12

£34,945

Grand Total

402

£6,066,271

 

Yesterday (23 March) The Pensions Regulator refreshed its ‘scorpion’ campaign to warn of the dangers of pension scams.

The new video uses true stories of those who have lost their life savings to expose the continuing threat of pension scams.

TPR chief executive Lesley Titcomb said for the first time in the campaign, information on how to avoid a scam is now separate, focussed and specific for pension savers.

Speaking about the TPR campaign, Pensions minister Ros Altmann said: “Scammers wreck lives and we’re working tirelessly to shut down illegal schemes and bring these criminals to justice.

“Reputable financial organisations will not call you out of the blue, so if someone contacts you about your pension or with offers of a pension ‘review’ I would suggest just hang up, or delete the email,” she added.

TPR urged savers to ask The Pension Advisory Service for help and if they suspect they have been scammed to let their provider know, or call Action Fraud.

Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of Tpas, added: “It’s important that we keep highlighting to consumers the best way to protect their pensions from these opportunists, highlighting the warning signs and making people aware of where they can get help.”

peter.walker@ft.com