Scam line launched by Zurich and Pensions Advisory Service

Scam line launched by Zurich and Pensions Advisory Service

Zurich has partnered with The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) to pilot a new pensions scam helpline.

The service will offer impartial guidance to customers requesting to transfer their savings into schemes which Zurich has flagged as suspicious.

Under current legislation providers have little power to block transfers when they have concerns the money targeted by a scam.

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Jim Sykes, chief operations officer for Zurich UK Life, said: “We are delighted to be working with The Pensions Advisory Service to pilot this new line of defence against pension scams.

“We will encourage customers to contact the free helpline when we have clear concerns over the legitimacy of a receiving scheme. The helpline will provide an additional safety net for our customers and help to reinforce the warnings we already give to savers about potential scams."

Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of TPAS, said: “We frequently have pension savers contact our service concerned about why their pension provider or scheme is delaying or refusing to transfer their money. However, we know that there are other pension savers who are not contacting us and insisting to the provider or scheme that their money is transferred.

“We hope that this pilot can highlight that an independent voice that explains why the provider is delaying making the transfer, can help people understand why the provider is carrying out the due diligence.”

The government is currently consulting on a range of measures to tackle pension scams, including a ban on cold calling.

In a consultation published on 5 December, the government outlined plans to limit the right of individuals to transfer their pension to some occupational schemes in a bid to crackdown on scams.

The consultation also looks at making it harder for fraudsters to open small pension schemes that people are then encouraged to transfer into, with the money then siphoned off.

Patrick Connolly, certified financial planner at Chase De Vere, welcomed the initiative especially if it turned out to be part of a “joined up approach” reflecting industry concerns.

“Pensions scams are happening, and will continue to happen and so the more that can be done to make people aware and clamp down on them, then the better,” he said.