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Fraudsters scam £23m from pensions pots

A new campaign to tackle pension scams has been launched, as the latest figures reveal victims of pension scammers lost an average of £91,000 each in 2017.

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A total of 253 victims reported to Action Fraud that they had lost more than £23m to pension scammers in 2017, which equates to an average loss of £91,000 per victim.

 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) have joined forces to urge the public to be on their guard when receiving unexpected offers about their pension and to check who they are dealing with.

 

The two regulators have launched a new ScamSmart advertising campaign targeting pension holders aged 45-65, the group most at risk of pension scams.

 

This comes as a new poll commissioned by the regulators reveals that almost a third (32 percent) of pension holders aged 45-65 would not know how to check whether they are speaking with a legitimate pensions adviser or provider.

 

The FCA and TPR are calling the public’s attention to the tactics used by pensions scammers.

 

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight, at the FCA, said: “The size of individual pension pots makes pensions savings an attractive target for fraudsters. That’s why we’re urging anyone who is thinking about transferring their pension to check who they are dealing with and only use firms authorised by the FCA.

 

“Pension scams can cause victims significant harm – both financially and mentally. If you are ever in doubt about a pension offer, visit the ScamSmart website.”

 

Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said: “Pension scams are devastating for hard-working people and can rob them of the retirement they planned.

 

“I would urge savers to always exercise caution and seek independent guidance or advice before making important financial decisions.”

 

The FCA and TPR are part of Project Bloom, a multi-agency taskforce which is working to combat pension scams.

 

The taskforce includes the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Treasury, the Serious Fraud Office, City of London Police, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, The Pensions Advisory Service, and the National Crime Agency.

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