The growth of cyber-crime is something we are all aware of and have either been affected personally or at least know somebody who has fallen foul to the scammers. But scams can take a more traditional route as well.

Recently the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pension Regulator (TPR) have launched an advertising campaign to highlight the growing issue of pension scams. Their figures highlight that scammers are specifically targeting those age 45-65 and the sophistication of their approach has left many being cheated out of their hard-earned savings. The TPR estimate that an average of £91,000 per scam is the cost of such schemes.

Tactics include being contacted out of the blue, promises of guaranteed high returns and the ability to access funds before the statutory minimum age of 55.

For any members of your family looking to make any decisions around their pensions there are a few simple rules to stick to:

  • Refuse unexpected pension offers
  • Check out who you are dealing with
  • Don’t be rushed into decisions
  • Look for impartial advice

The majority of scammers are not properly regulated institutions. The FCA provide a free register of advisers who can give pension advice and it is time well spent to review this register before seeking advice.

For those not of pension age, the scammers are widening their net to persuade people to put their money into various investment opportunities, again with the promises of returns much higher than you would expect from the more commonly known investment and savings schemes. The principle remains the same. Do your homework. Make sure you are dealing with an authorised, professional adviser.

More guidance can be found on the regulator’s dedicated scam website