Last year, 180 people reported to Action Fraud that they had been the victim of a pension scam, losing on average of £82,000 each, the regulators said.
Moving forward, Mr Richards said the regulator must recognise it is difficult for the public to tell the difference between regulated advisers and scammers.
He added: “When politicians who should know better are calling regulated advisers names like ‘vultures’, it is easy for members of the public to think that everyone involved with pensions is a crook, which makes it harder for them to get a second opinion if they are contacted by a scammer.
“The authorities need to signpost to what is regulated as well as giving warnings about criminals.”
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