Guest Comment: Raising scam awareness

It is widely acknowledged that pension scams have been around since long before the advent of online technologies, Covid-19 and pensions freedoms.

For years, the industry has worked together to prevent scamming. However, Covid-19 has brought the issue into focus once more. Scammers prey on vulnerable people and target where they suspect a weakness.

In our current situation, members are more at risk than ever as struggling employers leave staff and scheme members fearing for their job security and financial wellbeing.

Members will often first be targeted with illegal cold calls and offers of a free pension or a financial review. There are a range of new, innovative ways to protect members from these threats.

We recently saw the launch of Scam-man and Robin, an app-based game that alerts people to potential scams, and does a great job of getting this serious message across.

But how do we drive members to information and apps to make sure they can properly educate themselves?

As an industry we must proactively push the message out among members. When opening a banking app, the first thing I see is a scam/fraud warning.

When members go online to their pensions portal, they should see something similar. DC members should also see a statement reaffirming the message that the market will
recover and if they are near to retirement their default funds are in a more stable type of investment created to withstand these sorts of market disruptions.

Perhaps, like scammers, we need to be much more aggressive.

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