Dr Linda Papadopoulos, a psychologist who is supporting the ScamSmart campaign, said: “Scammers will use behavioural tactics to trick you into a false sense of security. Often these criminals will manipulate and persuade you to do things in the moment, which ordinarily you would feel suspicious of in a more familiar setting, such as a shop or local pub.
“It is important when approached with a financial offer on your pension, to take yourself out of the context or pressure of that moment. We know that people wouldn’t accept a free financial product in a pub or would be unlikely to make a purchase in a random flash sale – so why risk it with your pension?”
Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said the numbers were “shocking” but this was only “the tip of the iceberg”.
Selby said: “Most scams occur outside of pensions nowadays, with retirement savers over age 55 who can access their retirement pot flexibly one of the prime targets for fraudsters.
“We also know that the coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in vulnerability, with more than 27m adults in the UK demonstrating characteristics of vulnerability such as poor health, negative life events, low financial resilience or low capability.
“Depressing as it is, scammers prey on this vulnerability to try to fleece people out of their hard-earned retirement savings.
“While steps have been taken to protect pension savers, government and regulatory interventions can only do so much. It is vital individuals take responsibility, be careful before parting with their money and take the time to know the tell-tale signs of a scam.”
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