'Missed opportunity' to use victims in scam work

'Missed opportunity' to use victims in scam work

The pensions industry is not doing enough to support victims of scams and is failing to use their experiences in its own scam prevention work, the Transparency Task Force has claimed.

In an online meeting updating on the progress of the all-party parliamentary group on pension scams this week (July 20), Transparency Task Force founder Andy Agathangelou said fraud victims were being overlooked in many ways.

He believed the industry should be using these victims’ experiences to inform the industry’s work in this area.

Mr Agathangelou said: “Pension scam victims have first hand experience of how these fraudsters operate.

“They are a treasure chest of knowledge and insight and are able to draw on valuable, hard-earned experience.

“These are the best people to know the questions that need to be asked.”

He added: “This is not always being used by the powers at be and questioning is necessary to bring these issues to the surface.”

A scam report from Aviva out this morning found as many as half of scam victims do not report their experience to the relevant authorities, largely because they are unsure about who to approach, or do not think it would even be investigated.

A quarter of the 2009 people questioned could not be bothered and a fifth did not realise reporting a scam was even an option.

Scams database

Scam reporting is an essential tool in the fight against scams and rising compensation bills. The members involved in the APPG are therefore working to create a database of all known scams to help savers become more aware.

According to the group, it is in everyone’s best interest to stop the growing “scams pandemic”.

The APPG is set to officially launch in September, with the backing of a number of MPs. Pension providers and industry experts are also involved.

Back in June, Baroness Nicky Morgan warned the only way to stop advisers footing the bill for the growing Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy was to prevent the spread of scams and unauthorised firms in the market.

At the time she said: “Looking at the levy on its own, the difficulty of the crisis is of course people have to switch attention and teams to deal with that rather than perhaps looking at the way in which the system works. 

"The only way ultimately to keep the levy on an even keel, or to potentially bring it down, is to prevent the scams and unauthorised firms being able to take investments in the first place." 

James Darbyshire, interim chief counsel and FSCS fraud officer, told FTAdviser: “FSCS is committed to helping prevent consumers from falling victim to scams. Since 2019 we have done much more to respond to rising scam activity. 

“This includes working more closely with a broader range of firms, trade associations and regulatory bodies. Joint consumer awareness campaigns across the sector and offering direct support to scam victims are growing priorities for FSCS.