The number of pension scams is rising since the beginning of the pandemic, with Action Fraud reporting a 400% increase in scams linked to coronavirus in March, and the National Pensioners Convention stating it has received reports of coronavirus pension scams specifically targeted towards the elderly. As such, it is important to be extra vigilant to avoid either you or your loved ones falling victim to scammers. Here, George Square Financial Management shares some guidance on how to steer clear of coronavirus pension scams.
As the UK adapts to life in lockdown, the number of scammers using the situation for their own gain is on the rise. The necessary social isolation measures put in place to keep people safe during the pandemic will, sadly, leave a number of vulnerable people at an increased risk of being exploited.
Scammers may try to convince their unsuspecting victims to ‘protect’ their money from future economic depression. Uncertainty over employment or the financial markets may also mean victims could be targeted by fraudsters attempting to lure them to ‘safe havens’.
With the number of scams rising, it is important to be more vigilant during these uncertain times. We urge you to exercise caution over the coming months when considering transferring your pension, and to seek professional and impartial advice before making any important decisions.
Here are some simple steps you can follow to help avoid falling victim to coronavirus pension scams:
- Be wary if you’re contacted about any financial product or opportunity and they mention using your pension.
- Never give out your personal details, e.g. your bank details, address, or existing pension details
- Do not open emails or click on links from senders you don’t recognise
- Reject offers that are unexpected and out of the blue. If an offers sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Always be cautious of anyone offering ‘free advice’, a ‘free pension review’ or ‘early access’ schemes. You typically cannot access your pension before age 55 unless you have serious health issues.
- Spend time checking all the information that is available to you. You should always establish a company’s credentials by searching for them on the FCA Financial Services Register.
Scammers are often sophisticated and opportunistic, meaning anyone can find themselves the victim of a pension scam. The FCA has shared a helpful list of tactics to look out for.
Seek professional advice
It is essential to take advice from a qualified pension transfer adviser – and required by law if your defined benefit company pension pot is more than £30,000 – before you embark on a pension transfer. Specialist advisers can conduct a thorough analysis of your existing pension to work out the best opportunities for you. They will either recommend you keep your pension where it is or explore the options to transfer out, but only if it is in your interest to do so.
Get in touch
If you have any concerns regarding your pension or are worried about coronavirus pension scams, please get in touch. At George Square Financial Management, we are committed to providing ethical and professional pensions advice and have adopted the pension transfer Gold Standard – a mark of quality, trust and expertise in pension transfer advice.
All our advisers are working from home and remain fully contactable by mobile or email. Contact details can be found here.