As the ban on pension cold calling comes into force, City minister John Glen has recommended all savers seek independent advice.
From today (January 9) companies which make unwanted, unsolicited phone calls to people about their pensions may face enforcement action, including fines of up to £500,000.
Launching the ban, which was called for by IFA Darren Cooke of Red Circle Financial Planning, Mr Glen urged those trying to make sense of their savings to speak to an IFA.
Speaking about the ban, which came after research by the Money Advice Service suggested there could be as many as eight scam calls every second, Mr Glen said: "Pension scammers are the lowest of the low.
"They rob savers of their hard-earned retirement and devastate lives. We know that cold-calling is the pension scammers’ main tactic, which is why we’ve made them illegal.
"If you receive an unwanted call from an unknown caller about your pension, get as much information you can and report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
"I'd also urge all savers to seek independent advice if you’re thinking about making an important financial decision."
Garry Heath, director general of Libertatum, said Mr Glen should be praised for promoting independent advice.
He said: "I wish the FCA was as keen to promote advice. The issue is if those who need advice were to seek it (even if they were willing to pay) would the sector have the capacity to serve them?"
In 2016 Neil Liversidge, managing director of Yorkshire-based West Riding Personal Financial Solutions, provided his help pro-bono to a man who lost nine tenths of his pension savings after being cold called.
Mr Liversidge said: "I absolutely welcome the cold-calling ban and am very happy that Mr Glen is urging the public to seek independent financial advice."
According to the FCA, pension scammers stole on average £91,000 from each victim last year.
Lesley Titcomb, chief executive of The Pensions Regulator, said: "The cold-calling ban sends a very clear message - if anyone calls you about your pension, it’s an attempt to steal your savings.
"The ban draws a line in the sand for scammers. Cross it and you should expect to be prosecuted."
The ban prohibits cold-calling in relation to pensions, except where the caller is authorised by the FCA, or is the trustee or manager of an occupational or personal pension scheme, and where the recipient of the call consents to calls, or has an existing relationship with the caller.