28% of Brits worried about falling victim to pension scams

Over a quarter (28 per cent) of Brits with a pension are worried about falling victim to a pension scam, while more than one in ten (13 per cent) have already been targeted, according to research from Scottish Widows.

The findings suggested that men are more likely have been targeted by a pension scam, with just under a fifth (18 per cent) of men previously targeted, in comparison to seven per cent of women.

There were also regional differences, with just over a third (35 per cent) of Londoners stating that they have been targeted by a pension scam, making the capital the most commonly affected location within the UK.

The survey found that around one in twenty (5 per cent) of those targeted said the scam was successful, with 4 per cent of savers stating that they didn't do anything upon realising that they had been targeted.

However, over a quarter (27 per cent) contacted their pensions provider, while a similar proportion (26 per cent) spoke to family and friends, and a further 26 per cent reported it to Action Fraud or contacted the police.

There was also some awareness of the potential scam warning signs, as 50 per cent of Brits said an unsolicited approach would be a pension scam red flag, while 46 per cent would be wary of a firm that wouldn't allow them to call it back.

In addition to this, around 43 per cent of savers said it would be a red flag when contact details are only a mobile phone number or PO box, and 40 per cent would be put off if someone or a company claim to know of tax loopholes or promise extra tax savings.

Commenting on the findings, Scottish Widows senior corporate pension specialist, Robert Cochran, said: “Unfortunately, we’ve seen an increase in the number of pension scams taking place in the UK, especially as scammers use situations like the pandemic or rising living costs to take advantage of people.

"This presents a threat to people’s retirement savings as an entire pension fund could be taken.

“As the pensions industry makes a concerted effort to connect people with their pensions, we don’t want them to find their lost pensions only to lose them again, and risk not getting them back.

"More often than not, a pension scam starts with an unexpected phone call, email or text from someone claiming to represent a financial services firm or government body, but the tactics being used are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

“Our research found that over half (54 per cent) of respondents would contact their pension provider if they were subject to a pension scam but it’s vital people contact the Action Fraud Team, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, as the first port of call.”

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