Pension scams: Millions of Brits fall for some of the simplest tricks

Oliver Gill
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2015 General Election - Elderly Care
Pension scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, experts warned (Source: Getty)

Millions of Britons are at risk of being duped out of retirement savings by some of the most obvious scams, according to research released today.

To test people's understanding, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) presented thousands of members of the public with a selection of scenarios that might be pension scams.

Almost a third of UK adults (29 per cent) were conned by the simplest of tricks, the PLSA found.

Meanwhile, eight in 10 people (79 per cent) felt there needed to be stricter rules and checks put in place to ensure pension pots are kept safe.

“Today’s research shows that consumers struggle to identify pension’s scams and are keen to see stronger checks," said PLSA policy lead James Walsh.

"As an industry, we need to step up to this challenge and the government’s recent commitment to tabling an amendment to the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill to introduce a ban on pension cold-calling is a step in the right direction."

Walsh continued: "However, pension scams come in all shapes and sizes as scammers become increasingly sophisticated. Whilst the government’s ban on cold calling is welcome it is only part of the solution."

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The findings come as a surge in cybercriminals targeting retirement savings was reported earlier today.

Savers are being tricked out of £500,000 every day, an investigation found.

Fraudsters see pensioners, who have greater control over retirement savings following the introduction of pension freedoms in the UK, as lucrative targets.

Almost £200m has been stolen by investment scammers, The Times found. In some cases, individual amounts lost were more than £250,000.

“Sadly, this is a problem that won't just go away," said Darren Philp, a policy director at the People's Pension. "Stronger safeguards to help protect people from scammers are crucial, and the suggestion of an authorised list for pension transfers would be a major step forward in stopping the scammers in their tracks."

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