Between August and October 2018, over 173,000 people visited the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) ScamSmart site – an average of 3,145 people each day, or one person every 27 seconds. This figure has increased five-fold (462%) from before the launch of the joint campaign by the FCA and The Pension Regulator (TPR), where an average of 562 people visited the website on a daily basis.
Pension scam victims lost an average of £23 million last year – around £91,000 each – forcing savers to turn to financial watchdogs to help them stay safe from fraudsters. The FCA research uncovered that over 10 million adults in the UK receive an unsolicited pension offer each year.
The ScamSmart site highlights typical signs of being targeted by scammers and provides a form that people can complete to report any potential perpetrators. The campaign explained pensioners can receive cold calls, free pension review offers and guarantees of high rates of return. More than 370 pension holders were alerted to unauthorised firms thanks to the FCA’s ‘warning list’, the online tool that consumers use to find illegitimate firms.
The regulators recommend following a four-step procedure to make sure they avoid pension scams:
FCA’s Head of enforcement, Mark Stewart, concluded:
“Pension scams are often very difficult to spot. Scammers will target people from all walks of life and with any size pension.
The best way to protect yourself is to always check the FCA Register to make sure that anyone offering you pension advice or any other financial service is authorised by the FCA.”