Pensions  

Half of savers likely to be scammed despite govt action

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said that the figures were worrying especially as regulators and government had worked to stop scammers targeting pensions.

Mr Selby said: “While huge strides have been made in tackling pension and investment fraud recently, particularly when it comes to raising awareness among consumers, this research shows a worryingly large number of people are at risk of falling victim to common tactics used by fraudsters.

“Government, regulators and the wider pensions industry must not rest on their laurels when it comes to combating the scourge of scams.

"The ban on cold-calling introduced in January this year was a welcome step in the right direction but it was never going to eliminate retirement fraud altogether."

He added: “Scammers’ tactics are evolving all the time and increasingly we see complex schemes promoted online through social media.

"This virtual Wild West is a natural home for fraudsters, with governments around the world struggling to create meaningful protections for consumers.

“Education about the dangers of scams and actions people can take to protect themselves is therefore absolutely critical.”

The FCA and TPR have warned savers to reject any unexpected pension offers whether they are made online, on social media or over the phone.

The regulators also stressed that individuals should check the FCA register to see whether a firm is registered before changing any pension arrangements and to get advice before making any decisions.

Honey Langcaster-James, a psychologist, said everyone was at risk of being scammed, even though they might think they are able to spot a fraudster. 

She said: “We tend to assume that it would never happen to us because we think we’d notice something if it wasn’t right. But even the smartest and savviest among us can become victims of crimes and we do often have a ‘blind spot’. 

“Sophisticated scammers take advantage of this and use powerful psychological techniques to build trust and rapport and ultimately to influence our behaviour.”

amy.austin@ft.com    

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