George Osborne's reforms to pensions, which mean people can withdraw their savings and buy, say, a Ferrari (or just shares in Lloyds Banking Group), was seen as a revolutionary move by most savers. But it seems scammers were also pretty pleased about it: now Citizens Advice has warned pensioners and pensioners-to-be to be on alert.
The organisation said this morning that the number of cold calls and emails targeting over-55s with "fraudulent pension opportunities" has jumped in the four months since the new rules were introduced.
Two in five Citizens Advice pensions staff have seen people "targeted repeatedly" with pension scams, while a third reckon scams targeting over-55s in general have increased.
The most notable scams include "unspecified financial products", in which fraudsters ask savers to allow them to invest their savings on their behalf, offering a high rate of return; free pension review, in which callers ask to visit savers in their own home, thereby being shown paperwork that would given them access to their pensions; and more specific investments such as fine wines or overseas property.
Citizens Advice warned savers to be particularly vigilant about cold calls: four in five of those targeted were contacted by phone, while a third were contacted by email, a third were contacted by post and one in five had been approached by text message.