Emma Ann Hughes  

Cold call ban must be extended to stop scams

Emma Ann Hughes

Emma Ann Hughes

Prime minister Theresa May may be far more fashion-forward than her predecessor David Cameron but her government still needs to move with the times.

Late last year the government confirmed it would ban pensions cold calling after a parliamentary petition launched by a financial adviser put the issue into the spotlight. 

The ban will stretch to the cold calling of people who have inadvertently opted in to receiving third party communications. 

Article continues after advert

Violation of the ban could attract fines of up to £500,000.

While action to tackle dodgy dealers trying to pinch pension pots is to be applauded a ban on cold calling simply isn’t going to be enough to stop the pension scammers in their tracks.

If Mrs May’s government thinks the telephone line is the only way pension scammers can communicate with people they hope to prise from their pensions then they must be living in the dark ages.

In this day and age, you can be targeted through social media, inserts in magazines, pop up ads on websites, email, text messages, snail mail through your letter box and a whole host of other ways.

Even the “old” way of face-to-face scams still go on and I feel needed to be addressed. Anyone who has had the joy of working from home will know that all sorts of individuals can knock on your door promising you the earth.

Personally, I don’t like the fact “tradesmen” can knock on your front door and try to shove a foot in to push their wares.

If you want a window cleaner, new driveway, someone to prune back your bushes or re-tile your roof, there are lots of places where you can find out details of local people in your area and read reviews of their services.

What the government needs to realise is a ban on cold calling will not be enough to avoid a scandal of scammers using pension freedoms and exploiting people’s confusion about what the heck they should do with their retirement savings.

This week the Association of British Insurers called on the government to take the ban on cold calling on pensions a step further by banning ‘cowboy’ firms from contacting consumers via all forms of digital communication.

I totally support this.

The government’s proposed cold calling ban will simply see fraudsters circumvent the rules by bombarding people with digital media instead.

The cold-calling ban will just push people to start using other methods of communication.

Given how strict the rules are on what highly qualified financial advisers can say in promotional material and via social media – and the fact this is monitored - it is crazy that anybody can approach you unsolicited these days.

We need to make sure cold calls aren't just replaced by a deluge of spam emails and texts.