Scams  

Calls on govt to change transfer rights to halt scams

“Nonetheless, in terms of financial losses and overall wellbeing pension scams are among the most harmful types of fraud and it is therefore vital that they are taken seriously by law enforcement.”

A spokesman for The Pensions Regulator (TPR) said: “Pension scams devastate lives. On average a victim loses £82,000. Once that money’s gone, it can be gone forever.

“TPR and its Project Bloom partners are dedicated to stopping scammers. We are working together to tackle scammers head on, using our powers to investigate and prosecute. We will continue to bring scammers to justice.”

Last month (August 26), TPR and the Financial Conduct Authority relaunched their scam awareness campaign and called in football commentator Clive Tyldesley after finding football fans were highly likely to be drawn in by fraudsters.

They revealed more than £30m had been lost to pension scams in the past three years alone and individual losses ranged from less than £1,000 to as much as £500,000, with the typical victim being a man in his 50s.

Margaret Snowdon OBE, chairwoman of the Pensions Scams Industry Group (PSIG), said: “As we all know the issue of pensions scamming is not going away, if anything it is on the rise as more and more questionable individuals have recognised the extreme vulnerability of pension scheme members.

“This has only increased during Covid when finances for some have become even more strained.  

“When the Police Foundation approached us ahead of this project we were very happy to work in partnership with them to develop the industry survey and to inform the findings of the report.”

The increase in pension scams has led the Work and Pensions committee to launch an inquiry on this topic, as part of broader work looking into the impact of the pension freedoms.

Pension freedoms were introduced in 2015 with the aim of giving people aged over 55 more control over how and when they can access their savings.

But due to this level of flexibility scams have boomed, leading former chief executive of the FCA Andrew Bailey to admit the regulator has been playing catch up since the reforms.

amy.austin@ft.com

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