Scams  

XPS launches hub to tackle pension scams

XPS launches hub to tackle pension scams

Consultancy XPS Pensions has launched a hub to ensure pension scheme members are better protected against scams amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The consultancy has launched the XPS Member Engagement Hub to help schemes locate, protect and communicate with members to ensure they are not being targeted by fraudsters trying to get a hold of their pension savings.

The hub offers trustees and in-house administrators access to XPS’s scams identification service, a telephone-based service where a member of XPS’s team speaks directly to the saver to identify any scam ‘red flags’.

The hub also provides telephone communications with members looking to transfer their pension and has added questions to call scripts specifically related to Covid-19 circumstances.

There is extra wording in member communications highlighting the increase in scam activity and the red flags to be aware of; and a new internal scam monitoring system, so trustees can share further intelligence on scam activities and identify current trends.

Colin Miller, partner and director of the XPS Member Engagement Hub, said the hub was created in order to help trustees boost the engagement they have with members to put a stop to any potential scams.

Mr Miller said: “With self-isolation and the impact of Covid-19 on markets, members are even more vulnerable to being targeted by scammers who are increasingly using social media as a channel to target victims. 

“Now more than ever, it is vital that schemes are communicating with their members and ensuring they remain scam smart.”

Earlier this week (April 29), The Pension Regulator published guidance asking trustees to send defined benefit members looking to move retirement funds a letter warning them of the risks during the pandemic and urging them to consider the decision carefully.

Regulators and government have issued several warnings to savers about making hasty alterations to their pensions, warning that rash decisions motivated by fear surrounding the coronavirus crisis and market crash may be exploited by scammers.

Nicola Young, senior consultant at XPS Pensions, said: “Trustees and the regulator are quite rightly concerned about the impacts of Covid-19 on pension scheme members. We are continuing to see signs of possible scam activity and with members being at the heart of every pension scheme, a key priority is ensuring that all members are protected at this particularly vulnerable time. 

“We, at XPS, took these heightened concerns on board by launching our Member Engagement Hub and bolstering our Pension Scams Identification Service to provide schemes with the peace of mind that their members will be better protected not only through this challenging time but for the future too. 

“We have already supported on £860m of transfers protecting 4,000 pension members.”

Read our investigative piece: How the pension scammers are getting away with it

Last month, Action Fraud announced that coronavirus-related fraud reports had increased by 400 per cent and the number of pension scams has soared since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, as opportunistic scammers attempt to exploit savers experiencing serious financial strain and looking to access their savings.