Pensions  

MPs pushed to launch pension scams inquiry

MPs pushed to launch pension scams inquiry

 

The work and pensions select committee has been called on to open a formal inquiry into pension scams.

In a letter sent to the chairman of the work and pensions select committee, the founder of industry group the Transparency Task Force said the committee was “uniquely” placed to fully embrace the problem of pension scams as a major public interest issue.

In the letter, Andy Agathangelou pointed out that nobody knows how much money has been lost to pension scams, although it is “certainly” costing victims hundreds of millions of pounds, every year, and could more likely be in the billions. 

The letter also noted that one in three Britons have been the target of a scam during lockdown as the Covid-19 pandemic has “multiplied the threat of fraud”.

To address these concerns, Mr Agathangelou said the committee could develop a number of practical policy recommendations for consideration by relevant agencies.

He said: “We believe an investigation by your committee can make a real difference in putting a stop to these practices, which are opposed by politicians of all persuasions, but where a fragmentation between regulators, policy makers, legitimate pension providers and law enforcement has meant the scammers continue to prey on the public. 

“Pension scams is an issue that many members of the Transparency Task Force are concerned about; particularly of course our members that are pension scam victims.”

He added: “We fully understand that the issue of pension scams is one of many issues you may wish to consider; we also appreciate that various government-related agencies are already providing input in an attempt to deal with the problem.”

Figures from Canada Life last month (May 26) found 5.2m people in the UK had fallen victim to, or knew someone who had been duped by, a financial scam since the beginning of the virus outbreak. 

The research found the most common financial scams were related to banking, accounting for 60 per cent of victims, followed by 35 per cent of victims reporting being targeted by an insurance scam. 

One in five of these victims had been targeted by a pension scammer amid an increase in fraudsters purporting to offer free pension reviews. 

Research from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pension Scams found with more people staying at home, in line with social distancing and lockdown restrictions, it was increasingly likely pension savers would be contacted by scammers by phone or online.

amy.austin@ft.com

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