Scam smart: Six ways scammers are targeting vulnerable individuals

That said, just because someone is offering a free pension review doesn’t make them a scammer. Many regulated financial advisers will meet and discuss all areas of financial advice without an initial charge. What sets them apart from the scammers is, of course, the fact that they are regulated. 

According to the research, just 10 per cent of 45 to 65-year-old pension savers would say yes to a free pension review from a company they’d never dealt with before.

Time-limited offers 

Last but not least is the pressure sales technique of a time-limited offer. Pensions are a long-term investment and although in the financial markets there are deadlines for certain investments, consumers should never be put under pressure to sign anything without having the time to consider it properly in the first place. 

In many cases, the pressure will put people off, but when combined with the promise of great returns that could be missed, or exotic and exciting investments, it can be easy to get carried away and persuaded by these clever scammers.

Once again, consumers do state they are conscious of this kind of risk – in theory, at least. Just seven per cent of 45 to 65-year-old pension savers would say yes to a company that offered a special deal that wouldn’t be around for long and provided a courier to sign the paperwork immediately.

What can be done?

One of the most important ways to combat scammers is to be vigilant. Regulated advisers do their bit, and the FCA and TPR are doing their best to educate people about how to avoid these scams. 

Understandably, they want retirement funds protected so savers can all have long and happy retirements spending their hard-earned money.

Claire Trott is head of pensions strategy at St James’s Place Group