One-in-three over-55s has been targeted by pension scammers in the last three months, according to the latest research from Retirement Advantage. This is up from one-in-five just over six months ago.
The retirement specialist says savers are most likely to be targeted with offers of free pensions advice or investment opportunities either by phone, text or email.
Only this month we reported how IFAs were being investigated after multi-thousand pound pensions were now worth £1.
Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at Retirement Advantage says: “It’s a huge concern that many more people are telling us they have been approached by companies offering free pension reviews or investment opportunities. This seems to be the start of a trend so it is crucial people are alert to the possibility that scammers may get in touch.”
Be wary of offers to access pensions early
In particular, Retirement Advantage says people need to be wary of offers to help them access their pots before the age of 55 (as this is usually only possible if you are very seriously ill). It also warns of recommendations to cash in all or some of your pension to invest it elsewhere.
Alarm bells should also ring if you are told you need to act now or are urged not to seek help from a professional adviser, Pensions Wise or The Pensions Advisory Service.
You can check whether a company or person you have been approached by is regulated using the Financial Conduct Authority Register. Accessible online, the service provides details of all the individuals and financial services firms that are regulated by the watchdog.
See our Pension scams: don't be a victim article for more tips on protecting your nest egg.
Mr Tully adds: “It is clear there are unscrupulous people preying on certain groups, using increasingly sophisticated and convincing ways of trying to defraud large amounts of cash from people’s pensions.
“We all need to be on constant guard: if an opportunity sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.”