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The rise and rise of pension scammers


Recent research reveals that ten per cent of pension plan holders aged 50 and over have been approached by pension scammers to access their funds. Many have lost money and this figure may be the tip of the iceberg, with just one-fifth of those who believed they had lost out by responding to these approaches reporting the issue to the authorities.


Emails

These activities are becoming increasingly commonplace, with a spike in reported scams taking place over the past 12 months. Respondents to the survey said they had been offered a review of their pension arrangements through either cold telephone calls or unexpected emails offering better returns on their investments.

Criminals aim to take advantage of pension liberation in the UK, often by suggesting that pension assets can be turned into cash. There are some simple steps to ensure that you do not fall foul of this kind of activity and do not risk your life savings.

Most reputable companies will use software for financial advisers; for example, 
software for financial advisers can be found at Intelliflo. Such technology will ensure that UK tax laws are not breached and that the company advising you will be aware of the legislation affecting pension liberalisation.

Information on the relevant taxation issues on unauthorised payments can be found on the
government website.


FCA

The Pensions Regulator suggests that you should never give out personal information to a cold caller and always check whether they are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If they are not registered with the FCA, you will not be able to access the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme int eh event of a scam.

If the firm is on the FCA register, ensure that it can give pension advice. Beware of firms that claim to be FCA registered but have contact details that do not match the FCA register, as they may be a clone firm and acting illegally. Checking whether they have access to software for financial advisers will also help to indicate whether they are a legitimate company.

By asking to speak to an adviser who is not associated with the deal you are being offered, who will look after your investment and how your pension will be paid, you will get an idea of whether this approach is a scam.
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