Pensions  

Ban on cold-calling not 'panacea to happiness'

Ban on cold-calling not 'panacea to happiness'

A ban on cold-calling would go some way to protecting pensioners from scammers, but would not be a "panacea to happiness", the chief of executive of The Pensions Advisory Service has said.

Michelle Cracknell told FTAdviser that scammers would find ways around a ban on cold-calling, and that the key was to raise awareness about scams in general.

"Stopping cold-calling will help, but it's not the solution, because scammers are very clever, and they'll find other ways of doing it. Banning cold-calling is not a pancacea to happiness," she said.

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She said pensioners were at risk from other forms of communication, such as text messages and letters. She said the latter were particularly dangerous because they seemed more official than phone calls or emails.

She said Tpas supported raising awareness through the press, radio and TV.

Her comments followed the launch of a petition calling on the government to ban cold-calling for investments and pensions.

On Monday (31 October) morning the petition, launched by Derbyshire-based financial adviser Darren Cooke, had gathered almost 3,500 signatures. If it reaches 10,000 signatures by the end of March 2017, the government will have to respond.

The petition received a major boost last week when a number of major product providers, including Royal London, Aegon, Old Mutual Wealth and Zurich, pledged their support.

Ms Cracknell said she had not signed the petition and would not encourage people to sign the petition, because, as a government appointee, she is not permitted to lobby.

Ms Cracknell said, where scammers had previously targets pensioners with higher balances, now Tpas was seeing lower balance-retirees targeted.

She said they would also often target vulnerable people, such as those who had recently been made redundant.

However, she said pension freedoms had not increased the risk of scams.

james.fernyhough@ft.com