A ban on cold calling must not be seen by the Conservatives as “job done” on the fight against pension scams, according to Liberal Democrat spokesperson for work and pensions Stephen Lloyd.
Yesterday, 13 February, the government revealed it is working to find a “quicker way” to introduce a pensions cold calling ban, but it has not yet set a deadline. Lloyd has welcomed this, but believes the ban should be part of a “wider initiative” to prevent the next generation of pension scammers.
Towards the end of 2017, the government said it was working to introduce a cold calling ban by 2020, but the Work and Pensions Committee demanded a ban be in place by June 2018.
His comments are timely, considering The Pensions Advisory Service chief executive Michelle Cracknell has warned that scammers have moved on to social media as a way to target people, using sites like LinkedIn.
“Another area we are hearing about is social media … scammers are targeting people with different types of jobs and companies that are in difficulty,” Cracknell said.
“It seems like LinkedIn premium rates are very high for us, but for a scammer, that’s quite a cheap premium to get the sources for people that are based in one company, that they know are going through some form of scheme or corporate restructure”, Cracknell added.
Lloyd said the best way to reduce the number of consumers and vulnerable pensioners who fall victim to scams is to increase the level of people’s knowledge about the issue.
“The government can save pensioners, and itself, millions by running an awareness campaign highlighting the most common tricks used by fraudsters.”
Although he welcomes the ban, Lloyd has also highlighted its limitations, as it will not apply to calls from overseas.
“This cold calling ban is welcome, but the Conservative government must not declare job done and wash its hands of the matter, the life prospects of tens of thousands of UK citizens depends on this being the start, not the end, of the battle to eradicate pension fraud,” he said.