It’s unfortunately true that more and more of us retireistas are falling victim to financial fraud and ever increasingly sophisticated scams.
What can you do to avoid becoming a victim?
Here are ten tips to protect your savings
Be wary of cold calls and unsolicited texts or e mails
Scammers will often claim they are from “Pension Wise” or other government-backed bodies. These organisations would never phone, text or email to offer a pension review.
Alternatively, they might claim to be from a “highly regarded financial institutions”. On the other hand, they might say that they have been given your name by a “friend” who recommended they call you. Whatever the reason – if you have any indication that the call might be a fraud, IGNORE IT and HANG UP.
Remember, the terminology used may be different – pension freedom, investments, savings, tax efficiency – but it doesn’t matter. If it’s a cold call – IGNORE IT and HANG UP.
Finally, if its an unsolicited text or email – IGNORE IT and confine it to the trash basket.
Check everything yourself
Unfortunately, many people have fallen for scams because they’d been “recommended by a friend”. Always do your homework, even if you consider yourself to be financially savvy – false confidence can lead to substantial loss!
Make sure your adviser is on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved register
Pension scammers may pose as financial advisers. Check to make sure yours is FCA-registered at www.fca.org.uk/register
Check the FCA’s list of known scams
Visit fca.org.uk/scamsmart to see if the deal you are being offered is a known scam or fraud.
Steer clear of overseas investment “deals”
Well known scam types include unregulated investment in a hotel, vineyard or other overseas opportunities. These usually result in all your money ending up in just one place – and therefore being open to even greater risk. (Remember the old adage about putting all your eggs into one basket? …)
Don’t fall for “guaranteed”returns or professional looking websites or brochures.
No-one can ever guarantee returns on an investment and anyone can create a smart looking website or brochure these days. So it’s important that you question everything, however credible it sounds or looks.
Don’t be rushed into making a decision
Scammers will often try and pressure you with “time sensitive limited offers” or send a courier to your door to wait while you sign documents. Never do this!!
So, take your time to make all the checks you need – even if this means turning down an “amazing” deal.
If you are aged 50 or over and have a defined contributions (DC) pension, talk to Pension Wise
Pension Wise is there to help you investigate your retirement options. Visit www.pensionwise.gov.uk for more information (and to check what kind of pension you have).
For free pensions advice and information, ask the Pensions Advisory Service for help
Call them on 0300 123 1047 or visit www.pensionadvisoryservice.org.uk
We have used both Pension Wise and the Pension Advisory Service and found them both to clear, helpful and knowledgeable.
Contact your Pension / Savings provider and call Action Fraud if you think you have been scammed
If you’ve already signed something you’re now unsure about, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and contact your pension / savings provide immediately. They may be able to stop a transfer that hasn’t taken place yet.
One final tip – make sure the website you visit is the correct one! A lot of sites out there may look like the “official’ website, but aren’t. That could be a costly mistake…..
If you have an experience you can share, and possibly help others to avoid falling prey to scammers please tell us about by commenting on this blog or sending us your story. We’d love to hear from you.