PROTECT YOUR PENSION FROM SCAMS

As a new law comes in giving people greater access to their own pension funds, Suffolk Trading Standards team is urging everyone to be aware of pension scams.

Suffolk residents have already been targeted by the scammers with reports received by the county’s Trading Standards of bogus telephone callers offering advice on how to take advantage of the changes in the legislation.

If you are under age 55, you cannot release your pension unless you are in ill health. If you are over 55, you can release funds from your pension from April 2015 and this increases the risk of an approach from scammers. So please be on your guard and do warn friends and family in teh age group most likely to be targetted

From April, the new legislation means people have greater freedom to withdraw money from their pension fund; however this has resulted in an increase in pension scams across the UK. Scammers are trying to entice people with a ‘free pension review’, ‘one-off investment opportunity’ or ‘legal loophole’.

 Steve Greenfield, Suffolk County Council’s Head of Trading Standards said: “Scammers don’t care whether you are an inexperienced investor or have never put your money anywhere other than a bank. They will try to flatter, tempt and pressure you into transferring your pension fund into an investment with guaranteed returns but our advice is to go and seek professional advice. By being aware of some common tactics they use, you are giving yourself the best possible protection against scammers.”

Here are some of the most common tactics used by pension scammers to trick people out of their savings:

  •  A cold call, text message, website pop-up or someone coming to your door offering you a ‘free pension review’, ‘one-off investment opportunity’ or ‘legal loophole’.

  • Convincing marketing materials that promise you returns of over 8% on your investment.

  • Paperwork delivered to your door by courier that requires immediate signature.

  • A proposal to put your money in a single investment. In most circumstances, financial advisers will suggest diversification of assets.

  • They may claim that you can access your pension before age 55.

  • Transfers of your money overseas.

 To stay one step ahead of the scammers, people can join the Suffolk Trading Standards consumer champion mailing list.  Every week you will receive details of all the scams that have been reported and tips on how to avoid them.  For more information on the scheme and how to join, go to www.suffolk.gov.uk/JoinTheFight