Hertfordshire Constabulary have released their monthly fraud protection update. This month had a section about protecting pensions. As this most affects the seniors in our community, we wanted to focus in on this element and share their tips on protecting yours or a loved ones pension.
1. Be wary of cold calls and unsolicited texts or emails: Scammers often claim they're from Pension Wise or other government-backed bodies. These organisations would never phone or text to offer a pension review.
2. Check everything for yourself: People have fallen for scams that were 'recommended by a friend'. Do your homework, even if you consider yourself financially savvy - false confidence can lead to getting stung.
3. Ensure your adviser is on the Financial Conduct Authority approved register: Pensions scammers may pose as financial advisers. Check to make sure yours is registered on the FCA website.
4. Check the FCA's list of known scams: Visit www.scamsmart.fca.org.uk - are you being sold a known scam?
5. Steer clear of overseas investment deals: common scam types include unregulated investment in a hotel, vineyard or other overseas opportunity, where your money is all in one place - and therefore more at risk.
6. Don't fall for 'guaranteed' returns or professional looking websites or brochures: You can never guarantee returns on investments, and anyone can create a smart website or brochure these days. Question everything.
7. Don't be rushed into a decision: Scammers may pressure you with 'time limited offers' or send a courier to your door to wait while you sign documents. Take your time to make all the checks you need - even if this means turning down an 'amazing' deal.
8. If you're aged 50 or over and have a defined contribution (DC) workplace pension, talk to Pension Wise: Pension Wise is there to help you investigate your retirement options. Visit www.pensionwise.gov.uk for more information (and to check what kind of pension you have).
9. Ask The Pensions Advisory Service for help if you have doubts: You can call them on 0300 123 1047 or visit the their website for free pensions advice and information: www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk
10. Contact your provider and call Action Fraud if you've already signed and think you've been scammed: If you've already signed something you're now unsure about, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and contact your pension provider immediately. They may be able to stop a transfer that hasn't taken place yet.