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What the pension cold calling ban means for you.

Pension cold calling ban

You’ve worked hard all your life and built up a nice pension pot for your retirement. The last thing you want is a fraudster conning you out of your money.

This is why the pension cold calling ban has been introduced. So, you know, if someone calls you out of the blue, it’s a scam.

What is the pension cold calling ban?

From January 2019, companies are not allowed to call you up about your pension, unless you’ve specifically said you want to be called, or already have a policy with the provider.

In short, if you haven’t asked them to call you, and you don’t have a pension with them, the company shouldn’t be calling you.

But, scammers are unlikely to be put off by this ban, so it’s important to be aware of the tell-tale signs of a pension scam.

What are pension cold call scams?

All pensions scams start with unexpected contact. This can be online or by text message, but normally it’s over the phone.

You will then be offered a free pension review, or an investment opportunity.

A free pension review might sound perfectly innocent, but it’s just a trick to get you to reveal personal information like account numbers and passwords.

Another tactic the scammers use is to try and get you to transfer your pension into a high-risk investment scheme.

This scheme could be anything from green energy to a hotel or holiday apartments in the Caribbean.

The thing they all have in common is the scammer will tell you it’s low-risk, high-reward and pressure you into making a decision then and there.

Just so you know, there is no such thing as low-risk, high-return, and no legitimate company will force you to make an instant decision.

But there are other tactics they you too.

A particularly common one you come across online targets the under 55s, encouraging them to unlock their pension before they retire.

Only in very rare cases will you be able to access your pension before 55 without being hit with a substantial tax bill.

What to do if you receive a cold call about your pension?

If you get a call off a company who you don’t have a pension with, or you’ve not asked to call you, just hang up the phone. It really is that simple!

If you’re not sure if a caller is legitimate, then check if the company is on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register. If they’re not on the register, it’s not a company you want to be dealing with.

How to report a pension cold call?

If you’ve been targeted, or fallen victim to a pension scam, it’s vital you report it straight away.

First thing to do if you’ve been a victim is to contact your bank and pension provider to stop any payments and report the scam.

But, even if you’ve only been targeted and were able to spot the scam, it’s still really important you report it to help protect other people.

You can report all scams on the FCA Scam Smart website, or you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Follow-up pension scams

If you’ve been the victim of a pension scam, you might think the worst of it is over. But you need to be careful.

Victims are often targeted with follow-up scams where scammers tell you they can get all or some of the money back, but instead take even more from you.

Other scams and how to avoid them

Telephone scams targeting your pension is only one way you can be targeted.

Email, or phishing scams, are very common. Their goal is to get you to click on a link which takes you through to a fake website or installs a virus on your computer or phone.

Perhaps the most common of these are HMRC tax rebate scams.

Fake websites, or pharming scams, are a way of targeting you by attacking the sites you are visiting.

The website you’re trying to visit will look perfectly legitimate, but will in fact be a fake version designed to infect your device or see your sensitive information.

Scammers might also try an impersonate an company or organisation you trust, like your bank.

There are a wide range of banks scams, ranging from getting you to transfer your money to a “safe account” to devices which log PINs when you try to withdraw money at an ATM.

So what can you do to keep yourself safe?

To avoid online scams, the most important thing to do is keep your operating system and anti-virus software up-to-date and avoid using public WiFi for shopping and banking.

For other scams, always be suspicious. If in doubt, hang up the phone and don’t click links in emails or texts and go to your provider directly.

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