Increased pensions freedoms have offered those retiring more options and more access to their pension savings than ever before, but scammers are also trying to get their hands on the money! The City of London Police estimate at least £42million has been lost to scammers since 20141.
The Pensions Regulator warns about being offered large, guaranteed returns from exotic-sounding investments or the offer of a free pensions review. They caution that “unsolicited phone calls … about your pension are nearly always scams” however, unlike with mortgages, there is currently no ban on cold calling about pensions and one is now not expected until 2019.
“People phoning to offer good deals in helping me make my mind up on how to use my pensions or withdraw money early from the pot”
62 year old male from South East
Research by Harris Interactive has found that a quarter of UK adults aged 18-70 have received a cold call about pensions with 18% stating they received one in the past 12 months. This was not just prevalent amongst those approaching retirement – 24% of 35-54 year olds have received such a cold a call, and even 16% of those who have no pension at all.
“It was from a company offering a free pension review, which I turned down as don’t trust people who cold call.”
52 year old male from East Midlands
We found that 42% are very or extremely concerned about pension cold-calling. The over 55s were actually the least concerned (31% were not at all concerned, compared to 21% of under 35s and 17% of 35-54 year olds).
“Not sure of the company but the caller was insisting their pension scheme is the best and has the best reputation and many perks”
58 year old male from East of England
The proportion very or extremely concerned rose to 66% of those who have received a cold-call with a third of those who have received a call in the last year ‘extremely’ concerned. This suggests that the experience of receiving a pensions cold call heightens concern levels.
Stopping unsolicited approaches will not stop pension scams altogether of course but it would help limit the scammers reach. Our research shows this is a growing area of concern with many people subject to the calls in an area we know there is limited knowledge and understanding. Not only are the calls increasingly becoming a nuisance, but action is needed now to prevent more pension savers, especially the more vulnerable, becoming victim to a scam.
Results are from 954 UK adults aged 18-70, out of a nationally representative sample of 1065 UK adults. The survey was conducted on Monday 18th December between 1800 and 2100 using our fast turnaround Harris24 platform.