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Losing a lifetime’s savings – how scammers could cost you

Changes this year mean there is now greater freedom in how you can access your pension. But be warned. These changes have brought a host of scammers out of the woodwork, which could leave you losing your pension savings, and ending up with a large tax bill to boot.  

Retirement should be a time of relaxing, but one in five over 50s have been targeted by scammers, say pensions firm Retirement Advantage.

Falling for these scams could end up in savers losing all or part of their pension savings, facing a large tax bill of up to 55%, and hit with transfer fees as high as 30%.

Today marks the launch of Scams Awareness Month, a Citizens Advice campaign that urges those saving into a pension to scam-proof their savings.

Here, our pension expert Andrew Johnson shows you how to avoid being scammed and what to do if you think you’ve been scammed.

Reject cold calls

An unexpected phone call from someone you don’t know, about opportunities you have not expressed any interest previously could be risky. The safest thing to do is just hang up.

Check the FCA’s Warning List on firms they have known concerns about.

Check the firm is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Make sure you’re talking to a firm that’s regulated by the FCA.

You can check the FCA’s register of firms online.  

Don’t be rushed into making a decision

It is important to check the facts before you make any irreversible decision. Remember you could lose a lifetime’s savings in just a few moments.


Call the Pensions Advisory Service

Fraudsters will try to persuade you to part with your pension cash by promising opportunities that are too good to be true, providing false or incorrect information, free pension reviews, one-off pension investments, pension loans or upfront cash offers are all being used to urge savers to part with their money.

Before you sign anything, call The Pensions Advisory Service on 0300 123 1047 for information and guidance about pension scams or visit Pensionwise, the government website which offers free, impartial guidance on your pension options.

Report any scams to Action Fraud

If you think you’ve been scammed or that someone has tried to scam you, report it to Action Fraud. You can report the scam online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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  • clive green / 12 July 2015

    Good advice 😁

  • john webster / 12 July 2015

    I have a frozen pension with a local authority for 32 yrs and I have 2 firms that say I can transfer over and 1 firm says they are fca registered but since signing for a free review they have not got back to me the local authority need there fca number

  • DAVID KEOGH / 12 July 2015

    AS I AM NOW 55 I WOULD LIKE A LITTLE CASH FROM ONE OF MY 4 FROZEN PENSIONS BUT THE 2 PENSION COMPANIES I DEAL WITH ARE MAKING IT VERY DIFFICULT. ALSO. THEY ARE BOTH SAYING THEY DON'T OFFER A 'DRAWDOWN' FACILITY ON MY SCHEMES. IS THIS ALLOWED ? CAN I DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT ? I'VE BEEN TO PENSIONWISE AND THEY WERE SURPRISED AND SUGGESTED I INVESTIGATE IT FURTHER. CAN YOU HELP ?