How to spot a pension scam

Your retirement savings are extremely valuable – make sure you keep them safe from scammers

Pension scammers use convincing language and slick sales tactics to get access to their victims’ retirement savings. Hand over your money, and you could lose it all. In 2017, 3,000 people lost an average of £91,000 each to pension scams. Here are some ways to keep your money safe for your retirement.

Don’t respond to cold calls

Whether it’s by phone, email or post, always treat any unsolicited contact about your pension with caution. Reputable financial advisers and investment managers don’t drum up business by making cold calls. Be particularly suspicious of anyone who:

  • Offers you a ‘free pension review’
  • Says they can help you access your pension – especially if they claim you’ll be able to access it before you’re 55
  • Claims they can get you higher returns on your retirement savings
  • Pressures you to invest quickly to avoid losing out on a one-off opportunity, discount or bonus
  • Talks about legal loopholes or special tax incentives, like taking more than a quarter of your pension tax-free

If in doubt, put the phone down, delete the email, or put the leaflet in the bin.

Don’t assume scammers are easy to spot

Scammers are experienced con-men. They often use professionally-produced brochures and websites, sometimes copying the colours and fonts used by well-known companies. They can seem completely credible – even charming. They might offer a home visit, or lure you to a seminar with the promise of a free meal. But just because someone’s operating in plain sight doesn’t mean you should trust them.

If in doubt, check with the FCA

The Financial Conduct Authority holds a register of properly authorised financial services providers. To check if you’re dealing with someone qualified, visit the FCA’s website or call them on 0800 111 6768. Remember: scammers will often tell you that they’re FCA-authorised, so you should always find out for yourself.

Visit the 'Member support' area of the 'Useful documents' page for more scam prevention information  Find out more about how and when you can take your Fund pension  See how much you might get when you take your pension, or if you transfer out of the Fund 

If you have any other questions, get in touch

Phone: 01737 227549

Email: GPFpensions@willistowerswatson.com