Tuesday, 04 December 2018 08:59

Anti-scam campaign spurs 173,000 pension savers to take action

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The number of consumers taking action over concerns they have been hit by a pension scam - or are at risk - has rocketed following an FCA and TPR-backed campaign.

The FCA says its campaign has sparked thousands on consumers to seek further information about whether they have been scammed or are at risk of being scammed.

The number of people visiting the ScamSmart website rose from 562 per day before the summer campaign started to 3,145 afterwards, equivalent to one contact every 27 seconds.

In the 55 days after the launch of the campaign more than 173,000 people have made some form of contact with ScamSmart.

Some 370 pensions savers were warned about an unauthorised firm after using the Warning List, an online tool that helps consumers check a list of firms operating without authorisation.

Victims of pension scams last year lost an average of £91,000 each to fraudsters.

The FCA says that new research suggests that half (52%) of 45-65 year olds with a pension do not think they are likely be targeted by a pension scam. The most common reasons given were that they are too savvy to be scammed (21%) or that they did not have enough money saved in their pension (18%).

Scammers main approaches to pension savers were cold-calls, offers of free pension reviews and promises that consumers would get high rates of return.

Research from the FCA estimates that over 10 million UK adults received an unsolicited pension offer in just one year.

The Treasury has pledged to lay regulations that will ban pension cold calling early in 2019 however the crackdown has been subject to numerous delays.

Mark Steward, the FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “Our research shows that many pension holders believe they are too savvy to be scammed. But pension scams are often very sophisticated and difficult to spot. Scammers will target people from all walks of life and with any size pension.”

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said: “The FCA and The Pensions Regulator deserve credit for finally taking the bull by the horns on pension fraud. By launching a dedicated campaign warning about the dangers of scams – including a highly effective television advert – the regulators have already helped boost awareness among consumers.  

“Ultimately improving engagement and understanding of scams is the most effective way to tackle the problem in the long-term. The research published today tells us more work still needs to be done on this front, with many people aged 45 to 65 years old still seemingly oblivious to the fact they are prime targets for pension scammers."

• Editor's Note: Story updated 9.15 am to add AJ Bell comment. 

 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 04 December 2018 09:17
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