From January 9 2019, the cold-calling of savers about anything to do with their pensions will become illegal. The new law doesn’t just cover phone calls. Any unsolicited emails or text messages about your pension will also be illegal.
As it stands, not every cold-call you receive about your pension is a scam, though many scammers use it as a tactic to get their hands on your retirement savings. When the ban comes into force, you can be sure that any out-of-the-blue call about your retirement savings is definitely a scam.
The introduction of pensions freedoms in 2015 is widely cited as the reason for the alarming increase in pension fraud over the last few years. Scammers have seized upon these rules, which give savers much more flexible access to their retirement savings, to get unsuspecting individuals to transfer their cash.
Key warning signs of pensions scams include offers of free pension reviews and promises of incredibly high rates of return, among others. Citizens Advice report that as many as 10.9 million people were cold-called about their pensions in 2016 alone.
In the wake of this rise in scamming, savers have been turning to financial watchdogs in huge numbers for help. Between August and October last year more than 173,000 people visited the FCA’s ScamSmart website for more information.
Pension fraud victims lost £23 million in the last year alone, up £9.2 million from the year before. The real amount could be even higher as only a minority of victims report being scammed.
From 9th January, when you put the phone down on would-be pension scammers, you can tell them that they have broken the law just by contacting you.
If you suspect you have been victim to a pension scam, you should report the scam or fraud to Action Fraud as soon as you can. They will pass the information to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau who will analyse the case to find viable lines of enquiry. If they find any, they will send the report to the police for investigation.