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Are you aware of pension scams? Why it pays to be careful

Approaching retirement is an exciting time with a wealth of new opportunities and experiences on the horizon.  We all work hard to be able to enjoy this time so it is important to be careful about what you do with your money.

Sadly there are some people out there who will try and take advantage so it is important to be aware of this when considering an investment.

Today marks the launch of The Pension Regulator’s Scamproof Your Savings campaign, ahead of pension changes coming in April 2015. The changes will mean people aged 55 and over have more freedom over how they access their pension pot. However, this does make people more susceptible to being contacted by scammers.

Here, our pension and retirement expert, Jackie Spencer, gives you her five top tips and advice to help safeguard your pension.

Be aware of cold callers

Scammers will often cold call you or contact you out of the blue about your pension. They may also run advertisements claiming to offer ‘free pension reviews’. If they are pushy or claim that they can help you access your pension before 55 be wary. Their aim will be to persuade you to cash in your pension pot and hand over the money to them to invest.

Be aware of the warning signs

Other warning signs include companies offering a ‘loan’, ‘saving advance’ or ‘cashback from your pension' or refer to loopholes, overseas investments, creative or new investment techniques.

Here are some particular scams to watch out for:

  • They try to persuade you to take your entire pension as cash – or a large lump sum – and let them invest it for you
  • They promise extra tax savings and/or very high returns from overseas investments or new or ‘creative’ investments
  • They claim to know of loopholes that will allow you to get more than the usual 25% of tax-free cash
  • They say they can help you or someone else unlock your pension before age 55
  • They encourage you to transfer your pension quickly, and even send documents to you by courier


Always double check credentials

There are a number of places you can go to check whether an organisation is who they say they are. Always make sure the adviser is offering regulated advice.

You can check this at the FCA website: .

Don’t rush into making a decision

It is important to take time to carefully consider opportunities before making a decision. Before you agree to anything or sign on the dotted line, call the Pensions Advisory Service on 0300 123 1047 for more information.

Alert Action on Fraud to potential scams

If you have made an investment and you are concerned that it may have been a scam, raise the alarm by calling Action on Fraud on 0300 123 2040 immediately.

Remember if an investment opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is!


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  • Gary bradbury / 6 September 2015

    My pension company have told me that my money is tied up in shares and have sent me a list of companies its with, but I pointed out I needed the money now and all they say is I can't have the cash.

  • M Burns / 29 July 2015

    Useful advice covering most of what I wanted to know

  • Ian / 8 April 2015

    It seems to me that the scammers are the pension companies trying to protect their interests, and their charges in handling your money!

  • James / 7 April 2015

    Very interesting. I had a call where a company claimed to know the contents of my pension and how they could maximise it. I've been bombarded with calls ever since - easily 10 a day.

  • colin brumwell / 3 April 2015


  • Fay TRAGER-GREEN / 2 April 2015

    Appreciate this advice but I got your information via an email . You need to get this information to people who do not use a computer or smart phonr via sound bite adverts on TV radio (blind and deaf charities) also 'story form in soap operas & newspapers.maybe paid for by the pension companies who 'sell' annuities These Pension companies should only give firm prices in writing and pay to have info in regular clips like the signs of Stroke campaign and info on where to get safe advice. The pension industry should pay for this safeguard . Afterall if a pension fund is 'stolen' then the taxpayer will have to support that conned pensioner for rest of their life . The government needs to be proactive in warnings and how to do things info not just on Internet

  • Michae Walker / 2 April 2015

    All this is sound advice but I got it from my computer.I would hope that you also take out TV adverts to provide warnings .You coukd use simulated sequences a la Crimewatch.

  • giancarlo / 2 April 2015

    thank you very professionally made and helpful