Opperman warns savers against 'unscrupulous' scammers

Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, has issued a warning to savers reviewing their retirement plans in the new tax year to be wary of “unscrupulous” pension scammers operating online.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) emphasised that fraudsters target “anyone and everyone”, with savers often pressured into transferring their pension into a cloned account.

It also argued that there is "no doubt" that pension and investment scams continue, despite government action to combat pension scams, such as the cold calling ban and new transfer blocking powers introduced in the Pension Schemes Act.

Opperman stated: "Scammers who steal people’s hard-earned savings are the lowest of the low and the government is working closely with its partners on the best ways to combat, and raise awareness of, pension fraud.

"I have been very clear that some tech companies are failing pension savers; they must do more to crack down on scam adverts and should use their existing powers to verify advertisers and stop taking money from fraudsters who are online scammers using their site to promote fake adverts.

“My message to savers is simple: If you are considering making changes to your finances and retirement planning this new tax year – stay on your guard, and speak to a legitimate Independent Financial Advisor or consult PensionWise, which is free and independent.”

Opperman also confirmed that he recently met with Google in order to urge the tech giant to use their existing powers to verify advertisers and stop online scammers using their site to promote fake adverts, with clone websites thought to make up to 95 per cent of the scams problem.

Work and Pensions Committee chair, Stephen Timms, has previously called for economic harm to be included in the government's upcoming Online Safety Bill, with a number of MPs also supporting calls for tech giants, such as Google, to be held responsible in the fight against scams.

Industry experts have also recently raised concerns over the threat of scams after industry research revealed a lack of pensions knowledge amongst members, with further research prompting concern that women may be disproportionately impacted by low take-up of guidance services, such as PensionWise.

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