Pension fraud soars as £1.8m lost so far this year to crooks

Pension fraud: Expert discusses how vulnerable are targeted

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Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, said: “Criminals are malicious and unapologetic when it comes to committing pension fraud. “They lack any empathy for victims who often lose their life savings. “Pension fraud can have a devastating impact, both financially and emotionally, but any one of us can fall victim to a fraud.” Action Fraud said there had been a steady fall in pension scam reports from 1,788 in 2014 to 358 in 2020 – an 80 percent drop.

But after the recent worrying rise, it has launched a national awareness drive to remind people to do their research before changing pension arrangements.

Ruses often include free pension reviews, too-good-to-be-true investment opportunities and offers to help release money from a pension even though victims are under 55 – the age at which people are first allowed to use pension freedoms.

The true scale of pension fraud is likely to be much higher than reported as people often do not realise they have lost all their savings until years later.

Nicola Parish, of the Pensions Regulator, said: “Pension scams are devastating, with victims potentially losing life-changing sums.”

And Mark Steward, of the Financial Conduct Authority, said: “Always check our register to make sure anyone offering pension advice or any other financial service is authorised by the FCA.

“Unsolicited offers and pressure to make a decision quickly are all warning signs.”

Cold calls about pensions are illegal and should be reported on 0303 123 1113. Visit

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