Scam watch: beware 'free pension review' cold calls

4 September 2018

Pensioners are being warned to be on the lookout for bogus phone calls from scammers offering them a free pension review.

Pension provider Aegon cautions that the offer of a ‘free pension review’ is a common method used by fraudsters to steal money from unsuspecting savers. 

According to Aegon, more than one in four people (28%) have been offered a free pension review in the past three years.

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, says that if you are contacted out of the blue and offered a free pension review, the chances are it’s a scam.

She says: “The offer of a free pension review can sound harmless but it’s a method commonly used by scammers to trick people into giving personal and financial information. The mention of those three little words should immediately have alarm bells ringing.”

She adds: “Unfortunately, many people are taken in and persuaded to share information with fraudsters, which in many cases results in them losing all their pension savings.”

Aegon says that cold-calling is now so widespread that nine out of 10 people have received unsolicited calls, while over half of those surveyed have also been approached by email (59%) and text (53%).

“Government needs to bring in adequate legal protection”

The failure of the government to clamp down on cold-callers and tackle the issue of pension scammers has left consumers feeling exposed, according to Aegon.

The delay in bringing in a ban of cold calling, as reported in Moneywise, has left seven out of 10 consumers feeling that they or their family are unprotected, while over half (53%) have been left worried by the lack of measures to help combat cold calling.

The government first announced its plan to ban cold calling nearly two years ago.

However, it failed to meet the deadline for the ban in July, and it has now been pushed back to the autumn.

The ban on cold calling “can’t come quickly enough”, says Ms Smith.  

She adds: “The intention to ban pension cold calling was first mentioned over two years ago, but every month that passes means more people’s pensions are at risk from scammers, intent on separating people from their lifetime savings.

“A major new awareness campaign on the risk of pension scams has been launched by the regulators. What the government needs to do now is bring in adequate legal protection and ban pension cold-calling.”


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Interesting article especially the comment re cold calls made by Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, its a pity Aegon did not ask my husband if we had been cold called before they allowed his frozen company pension to be transferred in 2014 via Portia Financial to London and Colonial after we were wrongly advised regarding the investment QROPS (which we later found was illegal to promote to UK investors) by supposed independent financial advisor (IFA) James Hadley who was neither an IFA nor was he qualified to give financial advice on pensions investments. We later found it had been invested in a scam run in part by the same James Hadley (STM Fidecs/Trafalgar Multi Asset Fund).

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