Average scam loss equivalent to 22 years of saving

The average amount of money a pension scam victim loses is the equivalent to losing 22 years’ worth of savings in 24 hours.

Analysis from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) joint ScamSmart campaign found that it would take someone an average of 22 years to build up the average pension pot lost to scams last year of £82,000.

It also discovered that nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of people surveyed had taken 24 hours or less to decide on a pension offer.

Furthermore, although nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of people said that they were confident to decide about their pension, the same proportion said that they would trust someone offering pensions advice out of the blue.

ScamSmart also found that highly educated people are more likely to fall for a pension scam, as those with a university degree were 40 per cent more likely to accept a free pension review from a company they’ve not dealt with before, and 21 per cent more likely to accept an offer to access their pension early.

TPR executive director of frontline regulation, Nicola Parish, commented: “Pension scammers ruin lives, stealing away decades’ of savings with professional-looking websites, ‘expert’ advice and an easy manner making it tough to spot the fraud.

“But once you sign on the dotted line, often there’s no second chance. Scams can happen to anyone, so before making any decision about your pension, take your time, be ScamSmart and always check who you are dealing with.”

Shieldpay director of consumer, Tom Clementson, warned that although ScamSmart helps people spot potential scams, “more needs to be done to prevent fraudsters in the early stages of their attack”.

He continued: “Technology holds the key to protecting people’s money. Full identity verification and background checks will deter scammers, whilst secure payments technology will stop people from authorising a transaction that they later regret.

“It shouldn’t be easy for people to lose their life savings in 24-hours, and the payments industry – banks and pension providers alike – have a responsibility to eliminate this risk.”

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