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14m Britons fear falling victim to pension scams

  • 14% (7.6m) adults say they have received unsolicited emails, texts, call from people encouraging them to transfer or release money from their pension
  • Nearly half 47% (25m) say pension scams are hard to spot, but only a third (32%) say they know how to report a scam
  • 38% (20m) people want to know more about how to identify/spot potential scams
  • 27% (14m) are worried that they may unwittingly fall prey to a pension scam, because they’re so sophisticated these days

Research from pensions and retirement specialist LV= highlights how consumers are frightened of falling victim to pensions scams. 

The LV= Wealth and Wellbeing Monitor* - a quarterly survey of 4,000 UK adults – reveals: 

  • 7.6m (14%) of adults have been contacted by someone other than their pension provider  encouraging them to move or transfer money from their pension
  • (4.4m) 8% says then know someone who has fallen victim to a pension scam
  • Mass affluent people – those with assets of between £100,000 and £500,000 excluding property –.are especially worried about pension scams and one in four say they have been targeted by pension scammers. Nearly a third (31%) fear falling victim to a scam, more than half (55%) say scams are hard to spot and 41% want to learn more about preventing them.

“The LV= Wealth and Wellbeing Monitor highlights just how fearful people are of pensions scams 

“Pension scammers bombard the public with scam calls, texts and emails and it can be easy to fall victim to a scam. One of the best defences is to understand how and where fraud can occur.  People should be wary of unexpected contact that comes out of the blue such as cold calls, letters or emails, and they should be sceptical of unusually high or unrealistic returns. If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.  They should also be wary they come under pressure to quickly withdraw money from a pension or complete a transfer.  

“The best option for people considering transferring a pension or withdrawing money as they retire is to speak to a qualified financial adviser. Consulting a qualified financial adviser is one of the best ways to secure the retirement you want because they will be able to find the most suitable investments for a client.”

Clive BoltonManaging Director of Savings and Retirement at LV=

LV= highlights how consumers can minimise the risk of pension scams

  • Hang-up if you have concerns straight-away. If you receive a cold-call, the safest thing to do is to hang up, as chances are it's a scam.
  • Make sure you're aware of the warning signs. This includes unsolicited approaches by phone, text, email or even at your door.
  • Can you call the firm back? If you're forced to make a quick decision this is a sign of a potential scam. Contact details on their website may only be mobile numbers which is another red flag.
  • Understand the salesperson. Check whether the caller, or their firm, are licensed to sell. Check the FCA register of regulated companies, or the FCA warning list.
  • Make sure you ask questions. Most scammers don't want you to investigate their 'offers' so make sure to do your own research and look into the company, including their financial statements.
  • And remember, if it sounds too good to be true - it probably is. Fraudsters like to offer low risk investments with a high return.

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*LV= surveyed 4,000 nationally representative UK adults via an online omnibus conducted by Opinium in March 2021.

**UK population stats from ONS. Total UK population is 66,796,907 (released summer 2020), of which 79% of UK population are adults (mid-2019 calculations) resulting in 52.7m UK adults.